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XII PATRONS OF ART . - , . 94 




























APPENDIX ............** 305 




INDEX * . 313 



Claude de Guise 24 

The CHtcau du Jardin at Joinville 30 

Antoinette de Bourbon, Duchesse de Guise 36 

Anne d'Este/Duchesse de Guise 46 

Henri II 52 

Diane de Poitiers 62 

A Diana from the CMteau d'Anet 72 

RemyBelleau 86 

Charles, Cardinal de Lorraine 96 

The so-called Jean Goujon Diana 106 

French Renaissance Sculpture: A Nymph 114 

French Renaissance Sculpture: A Madonna 130 

Antoine de Bourbon 148 

Francois de Guise 160 

Jacques d'Albon, Marshal de SaintA.ndr6 174 

The three Coligny brothers Cardinal Odet, the Admiral 

andD'Andelot 184 

Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Cond6 194 

Marguerite de Valois ("Margot") 216 

Gaspard de Coligny 228 

Charles de Lorraine, Due deMayenne 240 

Henri III 252 

A ball at the Court of Henri III 264 

Louis de B^renger, Sieur de Cast 286 




IF a traveller follows the left bank of the river Marne upstream 
through the province of Champagne, past Chalons, Vitry-le-Fran- 
501$ and Saint-Dizier, he will come to the town of Joinville, a little 
this side of the border of Lorraine. The town today has its quali- 
ties, but they are not of an adventurous or showy kind. Few tour- 
ists visit it, and they only for a brief space. But at the beginning of 
the sixteenth century Joinville was important as a border fortress; 
it possessed a great castle, and was girdled with high walls. Yet 
its place in history is not due to walls and castle, nor even to the 
presence of generations of Dukes of Guise, but to Jean, Seigneur 
de Joinville (1224-1319), the biographer of Saint Louis, for his 
.book is one of the earliest French classics, and the hastiest traveller 
-stops in the town square to inspect the little monument to his 
, memory. Jean de Joinville loved his native town. You will remem- 
ber, perhaps, how, before starting on the crusade with King Louis, 
he left his cMteau, having made a vow not to return to it until he 
came back from Palestine, and then went upon a pilgrimage, bare- 
foot, carrying nothing but scrip and staff, to the holy places of the 
neighborhood. And you remember his words: "While I was on 
my way to Blcourt and Saint-Urbain, I never turned my eyes 
towards Joinville, for fear lest my heart should become too weak 
because of the beau chdteau that I was leaving and of my two chil- 
dren." It seems that the beau cMteau took precedence of his chil- 
dren in his regrets. 

The town and its chateau, several generations later, came by 
marriage into possession of the Dukes of Lorraine, for Jean's great- 



granddaughter married Duke Ferry FAudacieux and brought to 
her husband as her marriage portion the seigneurie of Joinville, 
These Dukes of Lorraine held their heads high. Though nomi- 
nally feudatories of the Holy Roman Empire, they were in reality 
independent princes, and believed themselves as good as kings, or 
better, for they traced their descent to the eldest son of Charle- 
magne. Whatever the cause, the stock was worthy. Duke Ren6 I, 
k bon Roi Rent, is best remembered as a lover of the arts, as a 
writer of verses, which he sometimes sent to his cousin, the charm- 
ing poet, Charles d'Or!6ans, author of the romance Conqueste 
qu'un chevalier, nommi le Cuer d'amour espris, feist d*une dame 
appeUe Doulce Mercy. Ren I was not merely Duke of Lorraine, 
of Anjou and Provence, but also King of Naples, Sicily and Jeru- 
salem, and these tides, however shadowy, his descendants always 

His namesake, Duke Ren II, proved his courage and military 
capacity in the battles of Morat (1476) and Nancy (1477) where, 
with the aid of his Swiss allies, as you have read in Anne of Gcicrs* 
tein, he overthrew Charles the Bold and his Burguiulian chivalry. 
This Rene had three sons, Antoine, Claude and Jean. Antoine suc- 
ceeded his father as Duke of Lorraine, Claude received the French 
fiefs owned by his father, and Jean was given a good start on the 
ladder of ecclesiastical preferment. Duke Antoine belongs prop- 
erly to the story of Lorraine, and not to that of the Guises, but as 
he was Claude's brother I will quote what Brant6me says of him, 
for Brant6me, curieux admirateur de tons ks egoumes> as he has 
been called, means to tell the truth; "Since I have mentioned the 
bon due Antoine de Lorraine, I must say a little about him, * . . 
He was called the bon due because he was a very upright man, a 
prince of conscience and honor* I have seen his picture in Lorraine; 
and there is not a respectable house in Nancy that does not have 
one, people like so much to look at it. And ail these fine qualities 
I speak of showed themselves in his handsome, honorable face. 
Louis XII and Francois I were very fond of him. King Louis gave 


him the command of an hundred men-at-arms, and asked him to 
take M. de Bayard as his lieutenant. I leave you to guess if he 
refused to take so brave an officer as his second in command, 
especially upon such nomination." 

Antoine's brother Claude, Comte de Guise, is the first important 
person in my story, and I proceed to him. He was born on 
October 20, 1496, and was brought up by his mother, Philippa of 
Gueldres, en I' amour et crainte de dieu. The phrase is not mean- 
ingless; the Guises were all bred in the love and fear of God, as 
taught by the Holy Catholic Church, Apostolic and Roman, and 
during the commotion of the Reformation they always remained 
loyal, more than that, devoted, to the Mother Church. Their feel- 
ing was one of passionate spiritual patriotism. As Claude was 
destined to receive the French fiefs belonging to his father, he 
was sent at the age of nine to the French court, and became a 
French citizen. Here he made great friends with his second cousin 
Francois de Valois, Comte d'Angouleme, a lad a little older than 
himself, and heir presumptive to the crown of France. Claude de 
Guise grew to be a tall handsome youth, with blue eyes and fair 
hair, intelligent, sensible, simple in his ways, composed in man- 
ner, agreeable aussy tost veu aussy tost plustmd friendly, and 
yet with an inclination towards the magnificent, a characteristic 
that was inherited by his famous son Francois and his grandson 
Henri, and proper enough in men who claimed that the blood of 
Charlemagne ran in their veins. At the French court his boyish 
years passed unnoticed by history until he was seventeen, and then, 
apparently through the instrumentality of Francois d'Angoul^me, 
he made the acquaintance of Antoinette de Bourbon aussy tost 
veu aussy tost plust, Francois had been recently betrothed to 
Claude de France, eldest daughter of the King, Louis XII, and 
his wife Anne de Bretagne, and now lent his friend a helping hand. 
Guise's father was dead, his mother was very much given to the 
Church and spiritual interests; and Francois as heir apparent and 
a friend seems to have made the match. Antoinette was not hand- 


some, nor was she rich, but the House of Bourbon was next in 
rank to the House of Valois, the Bourbons being descended from 
a younger son of Saint Louis. Their marriage was celebrated at 
the end of June, 1513. 

Within two years Louis XII died, and Francois Premier came> 
in all the exultation of triumphant youth, to the throne. In his 
earlier years he was a charming person, a child of Euphrosync. 1 
will let Brant6me describe him. Brantome says: "It is now time to 
speak of the great King Francois. The epithet great has been given 
him, not so much for his height and big, handsome body, or for 
his majestic presence, as for the greatness of his virtues, for his 
valor, his noble deeds and high desert, just as it was given long 
ago to Alexander, to Pompey, and others.** The biographer honor- 
ably admits that he has happened to see it said in a book that the 
King was "truly great in that he had great virtues, and great vices 
also." But from this qualification he dissents, and for justification 
says: "Francois was always a trh bon chrestien, (he never swore 
except by joy de gemilhomme) and a trh ban catholiquc* He 
never deviated from faith in the Holy Catholic Religion, never fell 
into the Lutheran heresy, and, though new things are pleasing, 
that new thing never pleased him, he never approved of it. He 
said it tended to the total subversion of all monarchy, human and 
divine. He served the Holy Catholic Church, Apostolic and Ro- 
man, with devout reverence, free from bigotry and hypocrisy.'* 
Then Brant6me praises him for secular reasons: "Among the noble 
virtues that the King possessed is that he was a great lover of good 
literature, and of the most learned men in the kingdom; he used 
to converse with them on all sorts of abstruse matters, when for the 
most part he proposed the subject of conversation, . . In this man- 
ner, the King's table was a true school, for at it all sorts of matters 
were discussed, whether of war or of the sciences, whether impor- 
tant or trivial He was called the father and true restorer of arts 
and letters." And then Brant6me praises his love of building: 
"Quelz bastirnens et superbes Edifices a4l fait construin! What a 


building is Fontainebleau, that from the desert it was, has become 
the handsomest house in Christendom. . . . What can one say of 
Chambord, which, though it is but half finished, puts all who see 
it beside themselves with wonder!" 

Brantorne, who was born a dozen years before Francois I died, 
had no doubt talked with everyone he could that had seen the 
King, or heard tell of him. But, on the whole, history today does 
not think so well of the King as Brantome did* Francois, scholars 
say, had neither a strong character nor brilliant talents, he was ego- 
istical, and too much under the influence of women. In person he 
was not only tall, strong, and well made, but also of truly royal 
presence. An Italian remarked that in any company, however he 
might be dressed, he would be recognized as King. He had a 
marked gift for conversation, as well as an attractive boyish con- 
fidence that he would please; and he did please, women in partic- 
ular, but all too soon he dropped into fatuous self-complacency and 
believed that he possessed superiorities over other men that he did 
not possess* He was ambitious and personally brave, but irresolute, 
fickle, untrustworthy, prodigal and disinclined to hard work for 
any length of time, and he loved to pose. He was a spoiled child. 
His mother, and his sister Marguerite, two years older than he, 
adored him. He really loved nobody but himself, and did what- 
ever his mistresses wished, first the Countess of Chateaubriant and 
later Anne de Pisselieu, Mme d'^ltampes. His best trait is that he 
was (so it is said) an artist to the tips of his fingers; he delighted in 
beauty, in the arts and in all the sumptuous elegance of royal 

Such was the man whom it was necessary for Claude de Guise 
to please and satisfy in order to make the place for himself that his 
ambitions demanded; and Claude was ambitious the name Guise 
may be almost taken as a synonym for ambition. A military career 
was the only one open to a nobleman, and success in it demanded 
experience, courage and skill At eighteen Claude had had no ex- 
perience, but courage he possessed in plenty, and he was soon 


to have an opportunity to show his mettle and acquire what skill 
his talents would permit. The young King, full of self-confidence 
and thirsting for glory, believed that he had ancestral titles to great 
parts of Italy, and set out at the head of the nobility of France to 
assert them. He crossed the Alps, but found his way to Milan 
barred by a Swiss army. Ever since the overthrow of Charles the 
Bold the Swiss had had the reputation of being invincible* The 
French army met them at Marignano. The Constable Charles de 
Bourbon, a cousin of Antoinette's, led the van; the Duke of 
Gueldres, brother to Claude's mother, commanded a body of lans- 
quenets, German mercenaries, and Claude served under him; his 
brother Antoine, Duke of Lorraine, himself but twemy*one, at- 
tended the King. 

On the eve of battle the Duke of Gueldrcs was suddenly called 
home to defend his own duchy from attack, and his command was 
entrusted to Claude. This is the first instance of Claude's luck- The 
battle lasted for two days. Pugnatum cst acriter, as Caesar would 
have said. The Switzers maintained their great reputation, and the 
French fought with all their native fire and dash. Claude de 
Guise displayed a vailhnce ct bontez admirably he was shot in 
the arm, in the thigh some say he received twenty wounds his 
horse was killed under him, and he was left for dead. Searchers for 
his body found him alive, and by what was regarded as a miracle 
of surgery his wounds were healed, and within a month he accom- 
panied the King on his triumphal entry into Milan, as Captain- 
General of the lansquenets, attended by four officers, all five of 
them dressed in white velvet and cloth of gold The Guises always 
had a sentiment that the outside should show the magnificent qual- 
ities within. Claude was soon afterwards presented to Pope Leo X 
at Bologna. The Pope complimented him on his valor and success; 
he answered that "If he ever had the good fortune to draw his 
sword in the Church's quarrel, His Holiness would find that he 
was a true son of Lorraine," Here, at the age of nineteen, in his 
luck, his valor, his Catholicism and his dress we have the pattern of 
his life. 



THE victors went home rejoicing. The King, young, handsome, 
gay, confirmed in his exuberant self -confidence, was a hero in his 
own eyes, in those of his mother, Louise of Savoy, and of his sister 
Marguerite, la Marguerite des Marguerites, the pearl of pearls, and 
also in the eyes of the nation. He found Mme de Chateaubriant 
very charming, appointed her three incompetent brothers, Lau- 
trec, Lescun, and Lesparre, to high military positions, at great cost 
to the fortunes of France, and then gave himself up to the business 
of extracting from life all the pleasure he could. Architecture was 
for a time his hobby. He employed Jacques Sourdeau to plan, 
under his own supervision, the west wing of the chateau at Blois, 
with its nonpareil staircase, and (January, 1519) began to build 
the Chlteau of Chambord, hobnobbing with his architects, Denis 
Sourdeau, Pierre Neveu and Jacques Coqueau. But Francois was 
a restless fellow, and pleasure always seemed to lie in some other 
place Qh est k bonheur? Lh-basl lh-basl and he hurried away 
in pursuit. 

His gallant young comrade, Claude de Guise, decorated with 
scars and laurels, went home to Joinville, to see his wife and his 
little baby girl, Marie, who was destined to become the wife of 
King James V of Scotland and transmit the Guise blood, the blood 
of Charlemagne, to Kings of England and of Great Britain, and 
to Emperors of India. But as yet Claude did not have a right to 
the possession of Joinville, for the town and castle had been in- 
cluded in the provision made for his mother, Philippa, the dowager 
Duchess of Lorraine. However, in December, 1519, the old lady 
called her children to join her at Pont-a-Mousson, a town northeast 



of Joinville on the way to Metz. They obeyed, and found her in 
a nunnery of Sainte-Claire. At every turn in the story of the Guises 
we meet the profound devotion of this family to the Church. In 
this nunnery the old lady announced to her children that, having 
spent the summer of her life in the service of the world, she in- 
tended to spend the autumn thereof in the service of God. So, she 
bade them a solemn goodbye, "Farewell, farewell/ 11 she said; "if 
my poor blessing is of any avail, I give it to you with all my heart, 
and I conjure you to live and die in the faith of the Holy Catholic 
Church, Apostolic and Roman, as all your ancestors have clone, and 
particularly the late King Ren6 of glorious memory, your lord and 
father. . . . You have the honor to yield precedence to very few 
families in Europe; never give precedence, in whatsoever it may 
be, to anyone in serving the glory of God." It almost seems as if 
she had heard what Martin Luther had just been doing in Witt cm- 
berg. She then renounced her temporal possessions, and, refusing 
all privileges due to rank or age, entered into her novitiate* Her 
son Jean, now Cardinal of Lorraine, tried to persuade her to ac- 
cept some physical comforts, but she refused. And so the CMteau 
of Joinville passed at once into the possession of Claude and Antoin- 

The little town, lying on the left bank of the Marne, covered 
the lower slopes of the hill that mounts, gently at first, above the 
river; behind the town the hill becomes very steep and on the 
top, at a distance of five hundred yards or more, stood the great 
castle, with keep, bastions, towers, curtains and ail the panoply of 
mediaeval military masonry. Of this nothing remains today. Walls 
encircled the town and extended back to meet the fortifications of 
the castle, while between the town and the castle vineyards spread 
over the steep slope. The total length of the castle, from the main 
gate at the north to the bastion at the southwest, was some three 
hundred yards long. As you looked up from the town you saw to 
the right the spire and roof of Saint-Laurent, the castle church, 
then, going left, the great keep, the clock tower, the alarm turret, 


and so on, all rising high above the encircling walls. The castle 
proper, a building one hundred and fifty yards long by sixty wide, 
was connected with the church by a gallery. Under the castle roof 
were the apartments for the family, the retainers and servants, a 
guard room, a powder magazine, offices and kitchens, while out- 
side was a garden, a tennis court, and suchlike. Below the castle, 
but within the walls, there was a large terrace, while behind the 
castle lay a great forest, with foliage so thick that the sun's rays 
could not pierce it. This forest abounded in game (fallow 
deer, wild boar, the roebuck) and through it the family had cut 
roads, for they were great huntsmen, and here and there, in various 
places, built little pavilions to serve as meeting places for the hunt 
It happened that the poet Remy Belleau (15284577) one of the 
P16iade and a close friend of Ronsard's, stayed there a generation 
later, when Antoinette was a widow, to be tutor to one of Claude's 
grandsons, and he has left a description of the place. He was very 
happy there. He begins by praising the view to the west, over 
hills, rivers, brooks, fields, chateaux, villages and woods; then he 
praises the vineyards that supplied the castle with vin clairet, es- 
pecially at that time of year when, as he says, the vines begin to 
disclose their little buds and poke their fresh tendrils, twisted like 
snails' horns, out from among the young leaves. His encomiums 
then fall upon the chateau itself, the galleries, the colonnade, the 
furnishings, tapestries and so forth. 

But this description, so far as it concerns the interior of the 
castle, belongs to a generation later. At the time Claude and 
Antoinette took possession, soon after the birth of their eldest son 
Francois on February 16, 1519, the castle was still in its mediaeval 
condition. It had not been lived in for fifteen years, and no end 
of changes were necessary to make the rooms habitable according 
to new notions of comfort. The nobles of France had been to 
Italy, they had enjoyed Italian civilization, they had learned how 
pleasant it is to have large windows and sunlight in palaces instead 
of gloom and meutrilres, to have gardens, and goodly walks, and 


to live as if peace and friendliness might last for a season. When 
they came home and found their castles like prisons, they at once 
set about modern alterations. The loopholes in the towers were 
broken wide and large rectangular windows put in their place; 
other windows were opened in the curtain walls, and dormers in 
the steep roofs. You can see just how they did it if you will go to 
the Chateau du Lude in Sarthe. All the nobles did it. The Sieur de 
Ronsard, father of the poet, made over his chateau, La Poissonie're 
(near Vendome), and the Guises did the same at Joinville. Italian 
architects and builders had come and were all the fashion, but 
they made no radical changes except in letting in light and air. 
The French taste for high-pitched roofs, for galleries and gables, 
maintained itself. Carpenters and masons must have been very busy 
at Joinville for some time, but Claude could not stay to attend to 
the alterations, for he was obliged (most willingly) to join the 
army. Antoinette was left, with her two babies, Marie and Fran- 
cois, in charge of the works, with all the cares of a chatelaine of a 
great domain. She led a very busy, and a very dull, life, commerc- 
ing with artisans, tenants, municipal officers and the wives of the 
lesser nobility of the neighborhood. 

War had been declared. The diplomats considered it, as is their 
way, inevitable. Charles V, King of Spain, had been elected 
Emperor over Francois, his unsuccessful and humiliated competi- 
tor, and his domains almost encircled France, except for the sea. 
Charles claimed Burgundy, his ancestral duchy, gobbled up by 
Louis XI, and both claimed the duchy of Milan and the Kingdom 
of Naples. To have maintained peace, would have required self- 
restraint and interest in the welfare of the poor, and Francois had 
no self-restraint, and never thought of the welfare of the poor. The 
war lasted with intervalsflashes of peace throughout his reign, 
and longer. The French had several frontiers to protect, and 
Claude de Guise was sent to serve under Admiral Bonivet, in the 
southwest, on the Spanish border. He was in command of a body 
of lansquenets, twenty-five hundred strong, and a thousand 

Claude clc Guise 


French, all infantry. Their objective was Fuenterrabia, a fortress 
just across the Spanish frontier at the apex of the angle made by 
the coasts of Spain and France in the Bay of Biscay, near where the 
little river Bidassoa constitutes the boundary between the two 
countries. The Spanish army was encamped on the further side. (I 
quote from the Mimoms of Martin Du Bellay, uncle of the poet 
Joachim Du Bellay, another of the Pleiade, a friend of Ronsard and 
Belleau). The French army, drawn up in battle array, waited all 
night for the tide to ebb and enable them to ford the river, but the 
moon was at the full, and the water too high. The next morning 
by eight o'clock the tide had ebbed. The Seigneur de Guise issued 
his orders. The lansquenets, according to their custom on going 
into battle, kissed the ground, and Guise, pike in hand, stepped 
first into the water. His soldiers followed him so impetuously that 
the Spaniards, though about equal in numbers (with the advan- 
tage, as Du Bellay points out, which those who stand on solid land 
have over men who come on, wading through a river), "bewild- 
ered by the fury and hardihood of our men, took to their heels and 
fled to the mountains." 

Fuenterrabia soon capitulated. Claude de Guise gained great 
commendation for his gallantry. He was very brave, and he also 
possessed the trait that Cardinal Mazarin valued in a soldier, he 
was heurem, he was lucky. The reason of the easy victory at the 
Bidassoa was that there had recently been a great revolt in Spain of 
several cities against the nobles, and owing to this civil war the 
government had not been able to oppose the French with well- 
disciplined troops. Guise did not know this, and he was just as 
brave in crossing the river as if he had been confronted by all the 
chivalry of Castile and Leon, but he was lucky in that he was not. 
This luck of his became recognized. The Queen Mother, Louise of 
Savoy, wrote a letter of congratulation to Antoinette on her hus- 
band's success. She said: "Vous avez un mari k plus vaillant et le 
plus heureux qui soit aujourd'hui, you have the bravest and luckiest 
husband living." His success was all the more conspicuous because 


the French armies to the east and north had fared badly. This luck 
followed him through life with few exceptions. Long years after- 
wards when Guise, as Governor of Champagne, was sent to protect 
the northeast frontier, the King said he felt assured in that quarter 
as Guise was heureux ct gtntreux, lucky and gallant. 

After the Spanish campaign,, Claude was sent north to oppose 
the English, who threatened to come down from Calais, for Henry 
VIII had made common cause with the Emperor, and to prevent 
an invasion of the Imperialists from Flanders. Guise was lucky 
again, deservedly so* He cut a detachment of English to pieces 
near Hesdin, and routed the Germans at Ncufch&tcau. Paris had 
been frightened, and Guise's successes won him golden opinions 
there, and laid the foundation of his family's Parisian popularity, 
which rose high in the second generation, and almost to idolatry in 
the third. 

Soon after this came the crushing French defeat at Pavia (Febru- 
ary 25, 1525), in which Francois was captured The King wrote 
his mother: "Madame, to let you know what is left from my ill 
fortune, nothing remains except my honor and my life, which are 
safe.'* She answered: "Monseigneur, I cannot begin my letter 
better than by praising Our Lord for that it has pleased Him to pre- 
serve your honor, your life and your health/ 1 Apart from these 
letters the whole aflair was a bad business* Great numbers of the 
French nobles were killed or captured. That Guise was not in the 
battle was another instance of his luck, And here is still another, 
The duchy of Lorraine was in danger* A horde of German Ana- 
baptists, said to number forty thousand, "fanatical partisans of 
absolute equality and of the violent abolition of all social rank'* 
(as the conservative M. de Bouill6 puts it), guided by a divine 
revelation made to themselves, had ravaged Franconia and 
Swabia, and were marching westward to cross the Rhine and in- 
vade Lorraine, destroying the property of nobles and gentry as they 
went Their proclamations that the time had come for establishing 
the reign of justice on earth frightened the proprietary classes out 
of their boots. The Duke of Lorraine begged Claude to come to 


his help. Claude was Governor of the province of Champagne and 
responsible for its safety. The King was a prisoner in Madrid, and 
the Queen Mother, acting as regent, said it was his duty to stay and 
protect France, Nevertheless Claude went. His excuse was that an 
offensive is often the best defence, and that it would be better to 
beat back the enemy before they crossed the French boundary than 
after. The brothers got together ten thousand men, horse and 
foot, and marched to meet the Anabaptists. 

They stopped on ther way to take leave of their mother, Philippa, 
in her nunnery. This was their first personal acquaintance with 
Protestants, and Philippa's blessing shows the attitude of fear and 
horror with which the nobles regarded them. "Children of my 
bowels," she cried, "you would not be the sons of our great Ren, 
nor mine, if you set more store by the world than by the Lord God, 
if you were to take a backward step now that occasion offers a 
glorious death for the sake of Him who, amid the insults of the 
world, died on the cross for you. . . . Hurry. . . . Strike. . . . Beat 
down all that oppose you. . . . Don't be afraid of being cruel; there 
are diseases that can be cured by gentle treatment, but this disease 
needs harsh treatment. Heresy is like gangrene; it always pro- 
gresses unless one meets it with fire and knife. Goodbye, my chil- 
dren, go, fight! And I shall be at my prayers to the God of Battles." 

The brothers met the Anabaptists at Saverne, a little west of 
Strasbourg. They sent a herald to demand surrender* The herald 
was murdered. A succession of little battles followed. The com- 
munists, as we should call them, were no match for the men-at- 
arms, who, it is said, beheld a crucifix in the sky urging them on. 
Thousands of the fanatics were killed, and their leader was hanged 
(May, 1525). The conduct of the Comte de Guise was severely 
criticized by the Queen's council, and had he failed his career 
would have been cut short, but elsewhere he won great praise- The 
Parlement de Paris complimented him on his immortal renown, 
Pope Clement VII sent his felicitations, and the King, on his return 
from captivity (March, 1526) when Guise went to welcome him, 
said that he never saw him but he had to thank him for some new 


services rendered, and In recompense erected the Comte clc Guise 
into a ducM-park, that is, into a dukedom that carried a peerage, 
for all dukes were not peers. Claude had taken a chance and he 
had been lucky. The King also, in order that Claude might the 
better be able to support his new dignity, conferred upon him 
various seigneuries. Another, and eloquent, tribute to the thor- 
oughness with which Guise had put down the heretical German 
peasants was the epithet Great Butcher given him by the survivors. 
The conservative Catholics, on the other hand, compared him and 
his brothers to the Maccabees, Of this campaign one human touch 
has been recorded. While riding through the land ravaged by the 
Anabaptists, the Comte de Guise found a little deserted girl, three 
years old. He picked her up, held her on his horse, and carried her 
to his castle, where Antoinette took charge of her, kept her till she 
grew to womanhood, and then found her a husband, 

The real importance of this episode upon the future of the Guise 
family was the impression that they got of Protestants. The new 
doctrines could not have presented themselves in a more unsympa- 
thetic aspect* A vast army of ignorant, fanatical peasants, prob- 
ably accompanied by a lot of rascals, "every one that was In distress, 
every one that was in debt," every one that was discontented, rail- 
ing at the Church, and burning, destroying, looting, gave to the 
Guises, as Luther had given to King Francois, a sense that Protes- 
tantism implied the overthrow of all human and divine govern- 
ment. From that time on, more and more, the Guises stand out as 
champions of the Church. Claude de Guise was always profoundly 
Catholic, as the record of his life shows, even when it might tend to 
his disadvantage, as, for instance, when the King made an alliance 
with the Turks and he opposed it, to the obvious risk of royal 
favor; but after this campaign all the prejudices of conservatism, 
of rank, property, tradition, custom, doubly strengthened and 
corroborated his devotion to the Holy Catholic Church, Apostolic 
and Roman, and he passed his convictions on to his sons, 


THE Due de Guise was a grand seigneur of the strictest sect. In the 
family his father was referred to as King Ren6, and he felt that this 
halo of royalty lifted him above French dukes not of the royal 
blood, and he was certainly second cousin to the King of France, 
The Castle of Joinville was worthy of his rank. He, however, could 
not be there very much of his time, for war or military duties called 
him elsewhere. Antoinette was virtually always there. The house- 
hold was on a grand scale. In the kitchen there were two maltres- 
gueux, one saucier, one potagier, one pastry-cook. In the pantry, 
the pantler had three assistants. In the butler's pantry there were 
three butlers and one assistant who took charge of the wine. There 
was an tcuyer de cuisine, a huissier de sale, huissier de chambre, 
vdets de chambre, pages, quartermasters, purveyors, who looked 
after wood, charcoal, kindling. This household was presided over 
by maitres d'h6tel, who were men of good birth, and superintended 
the running of the castle. Nevertheless, in spite of this large scale, 
everything was done "dans I'honneur et la moderation!' The Duke 
was a true aristocrat, and except for his own apparel cared little for 
show or luxurious ways. Here for instance is the bill of fare for a 
fast day: omelette aux fines herbes, fish, trout p&t& $ P e ^ s P * s > 
beans, cakes, cheese, strawberries, desert, inn d'Annonville. 

As I say, the Duke cared about dress. He was a tall, dignified, 
handsome man, and may well have been a little vain. There is a 
description of what he wore on days of great ceremony, as on the 
occasion of a visit from the King. He put on a rich shirt of linen, 
beautifully worked, a pourpoint of gray satin, chausse d'estamet of 



the same color, a little sale of scarlet satin, figured, with long 
sleeves, a cape of gold cloth, diapered and fringed, huiu'jn^ down 
to his knees, with sleeves to the elbow, boots of gold cloth with 
facings of figured scarlet satin, and over all the great ducal cloak, 
appropriate to a peer of France, of cramoisic violet, with a long 
train and trimmed with ermine* This cloak was caught up on the 
left arm, and clasped by a gold buckle set with precious stones; it 
was studded with crosses of Jerusalem made of stiff gold cloth, and 
with heraldic eaglets, of similar silver cloth, to show the family 
claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem and their kinship with Lor- 
raine. He wore chains round his neck, and on his head a bonnet 
of scarlet satin with a jewelled coronet, and on his hands gloves 
and rings. With ail their masculine vigour, these handsome Guises 
liked the trappings of rank, 

Claude was very fond of hunting and still more of hawking; 
the Huguenots used to call his sons the Falconer's children- He 
held the office of Grand Veneur, Lord High 1 hunsman, to the 
King. His stables were on a scale adequate to this office. In them 
were a chcvd de secoun, his battle charger, Ills parade horse, to ride 
on by the King's side, sk war horses, and so on, in all a hundred* or 
a hundred and twenty, riding horses. It was his ambition to have 
the finest stables in the world* For hunting he preferred little geld- 
ings with ears clipped and tails docked. To care for the stables 
there were squires, grooms, muleteers, lackeys, carters and two 
chcvaucheurs d'&curie* 

The Duke had little time for literature, but he was fond of music, 
and you may judge his taste in architecture by the Ch&teau du 
Grand Jardin at Joinville, As I have said, the Italian architects and 
artisans who had come back from Italy with Charles VIII or Louis 
XII, or had been invited by Francois Premier, did not make such 
great changes in French architecture as one would have expected 
in view of the immense admiration the French invaders enter- 
tained for Italian civilization. They introduced the rythmical se- 
quence of pilasters and bays, and a great variety of ornament in low 


relief, arabesques, garlands, medallions and such, but they did not 
affect the French fashion of towers, tours or tourelles, of high- 
pitched roofs and great chimney stacks. The Duke of Guise does 
not seem to have begun the Chateau du Jardin before 1539, and it 
was finished by 1545. He must have been well acquainted with the 
famous chateaux of the Loire, Chambord, Chenonceaux, Azay-le- 
Rideau, built in his youth, and he adopted, though in simpler 
fashion, several of their gay and charming features, the superposi- 
tion of windows (flanked by pilasters one above the other, the top 
being a dormer window), and their general scheme of ornament, 
Fontainebleau, which was building at this very time, was too grand 
to serve as a model, even if he admired it, and I imagine he did not. 
The CMteau du Jardin is half a mile from the great castle, and 
lies in the plain, not far from the river. It is a charming rectangular 
building, forty-nine metres long, and thirteen broad, and about ten 
in height to the cornice, and a tall steep roof above. The facade has 
a round topped door in the centre, and on either side, in perfect 
balance, a sequence of double pilasters, with architrave, then the 
row of superimposed windows with a dormer above in the roof, 
all very restrained and elegant. M. fimile Humblot, the historian 
of Joinville, in his book Le CMteau du Jardin which unhappily is 
out of print, says that a good many slight changes have been made 
since Claude's day. Then there was no balustrade above the cof- 
nice, and the dormer windows were simpler, less ornate, and there 
was only a single stairway to the front door, whereas now there is 
a double horseshoe stair. There was in former days a moat, and 
apparently a pond that bordered the chateau on one end and partly 
at the back. There were also, M. Humblot says, detached towers at 
the four angles; these are completely gone. Within, there was a 
chapel to the right, a great hall in the middle and a salle des gardes 
and an antechamber, on the main floor; below there were cellars 
and above rooms for servants. The charm of the cblteau lies in the 
front and back; the pilasters, the bays and windows are in admir- 
able taste, and the ornamentation belongs to the best of that gay, 


elegant period, for frivolity has been avoided, and grace, serenity, 
and dignity take its place. The decorations arc in low relief; you 
find angels' heads, flowers, fruits, heraldic devices of the Guise 
and Bourbon families, the double cross of Jemsukm and Lorraine, 
and also, frequently repeated, the initials C and //, and cartouches 
with Toutes pour une and une pour twites* 

It is not known why, with his great castle on the hill, he built 
this chateau; perhaps he thought it might be agreeable for a mar- 
ried son. There is a legend, based, 1 iiuujfine, on the mottoes and 
on the portrait of the Duchess of Guise nevertheless, it is quite 
fantastic which tells that the Duke was in love with a village girl, 
that the Duchess discovered her living in the simplest way, and 
thereupon decked the poor house witli tapestries, ornaments, furni- 
ture, fit for a palace. She made no other comment, and the Duke 
in gratitude built this chateau for her. The Duke may very likely 
have been in love with a village girl, or, some say, f he daughter of a 
judge or some such person, but he was far from being a profligate. 
He did not live at court, probably because of a certain severity in his 
character, and never resumed his boyish intimacy with the King, 
though they were always on good terms. It is recorded that, at one 
of the meetings between Francois Premier and Henry VIII at 
Boulogne (1532), both the Duke and his brother fan; the Car- 
dinal, played tennis with the English King and won /46-13M*', 
and the Cardinal won again at dice. But: Mine d'foumpes was the 
reigning favorite la demoiselle (as a foreign ambassador re- 
ported) fait tout cc qu'il lui plait > et tout at %(mvern& par die and 
the Duke was not a courtier, and did not feel at home at court* 
Besides, times were stirring, and as Governor of Champagne the 
Duke was very busy. There was either war or preparations for war 
almost all the time, 

Antoinette lived quietly at home in the Castle of Joinvilk At this 
time her main occupation was bearing children* She gave birth to 
eleven. Her eldest daughter, Marie, was born in 1515; Francois 
in February, 1519; Louise in February, 1521; Rcn& in September, 


1522; Charles, second Cardinal of Lorraine, in February, 1525; 
Claude, afterwards Due d'Aumale, in August, 1526; Louis, Car- 
dinal de Guise, in October, 1527; Philippe in September, 1528; 
Pierre in April, 1530; a second Francois, afterwards Grand Prieur 
and General of the Galleys, or, as we would say, Admiral of the 
Mediterranean Fleet, in April, 1534; and Rene, Marquis d'Elbeuf, 
in August, 1535. Of these Philippe and Pierre died in infancy. 

Hers was not a gay and could hardly have been a very happy 
life. One gets the impression of a lonely, narrow-minded, upright 
person, of character and considerable ability, whose interests were 
centred in her children and the Church. To those in sympathy 
with such a life she seemed a vrai sacraire de bontt et d'honneur, a 
holy vessel of virtue and honor. As to her bigotry, it is said that, 
exercising her feudal criminal jurisdiction, she caused the first 
Lutheran who came into Champagne to be executed, and that dur- 
ing a pause in the religious wars, in spite of royal amnesty, she 
hanged one of her vassals who had fought in the Huguenot army. 
I believe these to be Huguenot legends; for, on the other hand, 
there is a conspicuous instance of her generosity towards Lu- 
therans. At the Battle of Dreux, in the civil wars, her son, the great 
Duke, Francois de Guise, accepted the surrender of seventeen hun- 
dred German lansquenets, Protestant mercenaries, and sent them 
back to Germany. They passed near Joinville on their way home, 
in rags, cold, hungry, miserable, accompanied, as was their custom, 
by their wives, a pitiable company. They were heretics and 
enemies, hired to put down the Holy Catholic Religion; neverthe- 
less the Duchess gave them food and clothes, and money to the 
women, and an escort to conduct them safe from the resentment 
of the inhabitants as far as the frontier. 

That was in the period of her widowhood when she ruled Join- 
ville, as Dowager Duchess, in a strict and pious, but just and kind, 
fashion. Poor Remy Belleau found the castle a most peaceful and 
pleasant refuge. He had had his happy days at the College Co- 
queret, where, under the auspices of the old poet and scholar Dorat, 


Ronsard, Du Bcllay and he had formed the PIciadc, and he and 
Ronsard had caroused together, drinking healths to his fame et 
belle Maddon while Ronsard celebrated Cassandre or Marie, But 
dark days had followed and then through the kindness of Charles 

Cardinal de Lorraine he had come to be tutor to one of Antoin- 
ette's grandsons* He was very grateful I le says that Fortune and 
Destiny had clone him the favor to bring him "to a place where I 
believe that Honor, Virtue, the Loves and the Graces, have re- 
solved to bribe my senses, intoxicate my reason, and little by little 
steal my soul, depriving me of my senses, sight, hearing, taste and 
touch." And he tells how the beauty of the place, together with 
happiness and much leisure, and the a^m-nblr and modest conver- 
sation of a gay and virtuous company, induced him to compose 
poetry again. Perhaps it was there, in the springtime, that he wrote 
the pretty verses: 

Avril, I'honneur et des bois 

Et des mois: 

Atfrilf la douce espfnwce 
DCS fruictf qui sous k coton 

Du bouton 
Nowissent lew jeune enfance* 

Uaubespine ct Vtnglantin, 

Et k thym 

L'o&illet, le Us ct ks rose/ 
En ccstc belle saison., 

A foison 
Monstrcnt kurs robes '^ 

Aprilj honor of forest ways 

And of Spring clays, 
April, sweet hope within the wiklwood 
Of fruits, that in the muff 

Of budding fluff, 
Nurture their first childhood. 

The Thyme, the Columbine 


And Eglantine 
The Iris, Lily and the Rose 

In this lovely season 

Outdoing reason 
Their finery disclose, 

I doubt if the old Duchess cared for poetry, or contributed much 
to Belleau's gaiety, but she was always a grandc dame, and the 
privilege of seeing a grande dame familiarly is great. On her hus- 
band's death she turned more and more to her religion. She 
erected a stately monument to him, according to the mode of the 
time, in which the effigy of a dead body lay naked below, and a 
clothed figure above, with statues of the four cardinal virtues, Jus- 
tice, Temperance, Prudence and Fortitude, at the corners; and 
she provided masses for his soul, and then, perhaps thinking it 
more prudent not to leave the matter to her children, gave a con- 
siderable sum to the Church of Saint-Laurent for the benefit of 
herself, and additional moneys for services on the day of her burial, 
for reading psalms over her body during the space of three days, 
and for various other ceremonies, as well as for masses to prosper 
her soul in Purgatory, Brant6me says of her widowhood: "Her life 
was a continuous meditation on death; she had her coffin made and 
placed in the gallery through which she passed every time she went 
to divine service in the Church of Saint-Laurent so that thinking 
constantly upon the day of her death should refresh her." 

But Rerny Belleau saw the good side of her religious spirit. He 
says that chastity had made her home in the castle. I will quote his 
first impressions: "I saw a charming company of shepherdesses 
(the Duchess's young ladies-in-waiting) who came to bid their 
mistress good morning, and to accompany her to the chapel, and 
there say their prayers. This venerable and holy Princess is already 
elderly, and I don't like to see how Old Age, tremulous and 
crooked, has laid its hand upon so noble and virtuous a creature. 
. . . After the young ladies have done obeisance to their mistress, 
they leave her room, cross the great hall, pass the doorway and 


enter a little gallery, built on purpose to lead to the chapel I fol- 
lowed, and saw the noble and venerable tomb of the great knight, 
Claude de Guise. Below the Prince is represented as dead, but 
above as alive and praying by the side of this venerable lady, his 
faithful companion. God, of His grace, has preserved her till now, 
and will preserve her, if it please Him, for she is the mainstay and 
happiness of this region, the example and pattern of sweetness and 
charity, the reliquary of virtue, the strong warder of her family, 
and helper of the poor." 

You see, the poet could not forbear from interrupting his de- 
scription of the daily routine at the castle with a eulogy of its 
mistress* Then he goes on* After chapel the ladies-in-waiting 
returned to the great hall, used as a living room, and there, as I 
understand it, had their breakfast at nine o'clock, and afterwards 
went about their various occupations till dinner, which was served 
at five o'clock. Sometimes the young ladies sauntered on the ter- 
race, sometimes went for a walk in the forest, but always came 
back in time for dinner. At both meals there was a great variety of 
meats and fruits. After dinner the maidens went up to the Duchess 
one by one, curtseyed, and then retired to a room where they sewed, 
embroidered, or mended clothes for the poor, Belleau was 
charmed with it all, and becomes rapturous* "In this room," he 
says, "there is perpetual spring, with its enlivening warmth 

When the Spring her flowerets wreathes, 

Then Love breathes 
His kindling breath upon the coals 
Of the lingering, banked-in fire, 

That winter dire 
Could not quench within our souls 

in this room there is never laziness; these shepherdesses are always 
at work. In it is a great bird cage, and sometimes the birds are let 
out to fly about the room; here a tame canary takes crumbs from 
one of the girls' fingers, and there a bunting mimics other birds," 

(Photograph by Giraudon') 

Antoinette de Bourbon, Duchesse dc Guise 


At eight o'clock all went to say good night to the Duchess, and so 
to bed. Naturally, poor Belleau was happy. He recited his carefree 

Hd que nous t'estirnons heureuse, 
Gentille Cigalle amoureuse. 

Gentle Grasshopper, we guess 
You live in happy amorousness. 

He chatted with the girls; they talked of love, of its traits, of its 
causes and its cure. And the great world outside, with Catholic 
and Huguenot murdering one another, did not for the time disturb 
them. The Duchess was a strict chaperone and an excellent chlte- 
laine, and enjoyed a high reputation for piety, character and good 
breeding, so that parents of distinguished rank were glad to place 
their daughters among her maidens. The Due de Nevers asked her 
to bring up his daughter; the girl was welcomed and afterwards 
married the Duchess's famous grandson Henri de Guise. The 
Duchess, also, kept up her husband's custom of receiving young 
men and training them to arms and military exercises. Such was 
the home to which her son, the great Duke Francois, came back 
from time to time, and where his brilliant son Henri passed part 
of his youth. 


THE House of Guise in its three generations, of Claude, Francois 
and Henri, follows the classical orders Doric simplicity, Ionic 
elegance and the full-blown Corinthian but the cardinals, of 
whom there were two in each of the earlier generations, conform 
to the composite type, serving, and serving very well, both God and 
Mammon. Jean was a couple of years younger than Claude. As 
his older brothers received all the secular possessions of their father, 
Jean was provided for ia the church. At the age of three he was 
appointed coadjutor to the Bishop of Metz, and Bishop at the age of 
ten. A good beginning, and well followed up. He was amazingly 
fortunate, even in an age of pluralities, in collecting benefices, like 
a man of great affairs in our own day uniting subsidiary compa- 
niesthree archbishoprics, Reims, Lyons and Narbonne; nine 
bishoprics, Mete, Toul, Verdun, Thcrouanne, Lugm, Albi, 
Valence, Nantes and Agen; five abbeys, Cluny, Marmoutier, Saint- 
Ouen, Gorze and Fecamp; as well as sundry priories benefices, as 
you see, scattered all over France. "Grand dicul qudk charge 
d'Amesl" as somebody exclaimed "What a spiritual burden I" 
These revenues made him extremely rich, and he lived in great 
luxury and prodigality, but he was also very generous ia alms- 
giving. In Paris, as Abbot of Cluny, he occupied the Maison de 
Cluny, built by his predecessor, Jacques d'Amboise, and, to crown 
his dignities, Pope Leo X created him Cardinal of Lorraine. 

It was just at this time that Martin Luther was beginning his 
ecclesiastical rebellion. The Cardinal of Lorraine, inevitably, was 
a conservative churchman, not merely because he was a prince of 



the Church and rich in its riches, but because he had been taught 
to love that Church from babyhood. The Church was his spiritual 
mother, and he resented insults and attacks upon her as if they 
had been directed at his own mother. Like all serious-minded 
prelates, he admitted that there was great need of reform, espe- 
cially in the monasteries, which were in a most reprehensible condi- 
tion. Brantome says that it was the usage of monks to elect as 
abbot or prior the one among them that was the greatest good 
fellow for drinking, wenching, hunting and hawking. But the 
Cardinal wished the reforms to be made by the proper ecclesiastical 
authorities, by the bishops, by local synods, or an oecumenical coun- 
cil, if necessary, not by revolutionary peasants. Besides, he was a 
great Prince, with royal blood in his veins, and despised and dis- 
liked Luther as a peasant, and his disciples as heretics and rebels. 

In France the first movements towards ecclesiastical reform were 
very gentle and moderate. The King himself and his sweet sister 
Marguerite were very sympathetic towards the reformers, but the 
vast majority of Frenchmen were conservative, and after the 
disaster at Pavia and the King's imprisonment at Madrid the atti- 
tude of the government changed. The Queen Mother, Louise of 
Savoy, acting as regent, was in great straits. Enemies encircled 
France, and she was compelled to do whatever was popular, espe- 
cially in Paris; and the people of Paris, under the guidance of two 
very conservative bodies, the Sorbonne and the Parlement de Paris, 
were angered by the innovators. Hatred begat fear, and fear begat 
slander. All sorts of dreadful stories were told of the heretics and 
their ways. Oddly enough, a classical story told of the early Chris- 
tians came up again, accusing the Protestants of holding secret 
conventicles by night, where they put out the lights and indulged 
in horrible debauchery. All respectable people believed these 
stories, and the popular mind was feverishly inflamed. Even the 
King, on his return from captivity, swung round to the general 
opinion. Royal ordinances were issued against heretics and hereti- 
cal books, and a few executions took place- For instance, one 


young man, a lawyer's son, spoke ill of Christ, of Our Lady and 
of the Saints in Paradise; he was tried and condemned, drawn in 
a tumbril from Notre-Dame to the Church of Saintc-Genevicive, his 
tongue cut out, and after strangulation he was burned. Such 
punishments were not at all devised against heretics; they were 
the ordinary punishment for serious crimes against society. The 
mediaeval criminal code was all of a piece, civil and ecclesiastical 
The reformers were too few to act openly, but to show their 
rejection of Romish ways, and give as much offence as possible, 
they took to breaking images of the Madonna and the Saints acts 
not only, according to popular belief, heinous in themselves, but 
also sure to bring down punishment from Heaven on everybody, 
the innocent as well as the guilty. The Cardinal of Lorraine was 
anything but a fanatic, but he had accompanied his soldier brothers 
on their campaign against the German Anabaptists, and no doubt 
had conceived a very profound aversion to all that they were and 
did; as a prince, as an aristocrat, as a prelate, as a Catholic, he 
loathed all their ways- By this time he had become a great person- 
age in the Kingdom, more important than Claude; he was cleverer 
than Claude, more a man of the world, more of a courtier, more 
gifted in social intercourse* The King found him a compagnon de 
coeur, most capable and intelligent, appointed him one of his inner 
council (a very small group), commanded his company for cere- 
monious occasions and sent him on important embassies- 

The province of Champagne was peculiarly the affair of the 
Guises. Claude was Governor, the Cardinal was Archbishop of 
Reims, or remained so until he handed the archbishopric over to 
his nephew Charles, and the old Duchess Antoinette was cMte- 
laine at Joinville, and all felt themselves responsible for the souls of 
the people entrusted to their charge* The province was exposed to 
heretical influences from Lutheran Strasbourg and Calvinist 
Geneva, but heresy had not made much headway. A few sinners 
were burned in Reims in 1537, but in 1539 we find the Duke writ- 
ing to the Constable, Arme de Montmorency: "As to the rumor 


that this wicked sect of Lutherans exists in Champagne, I shall 
make inquiries, and according to what I learn, I shall so set matters 
right that God, the King, and all the world will be satisfied." He 
was faithful to the statement he had made to Pope Leo X twenty 
years before. The Guises became more and more staunch as all that 
they loved in the old religion was threatened. 

Cardinal Jean sympathized with Claude's attitude, but he was a 
cultivated and liberal-minded man. He was also considerable of a 
scholar. When the Roman Church was engaged in a controversy 
with the Greek Church as to the doctrine of transubstantiation, he 
was deputed to formulate the orthodox reply. He stood firm on the 
teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, and quoted St. Chrysostom, St. 
Basil, Dominus Nicolaus Cabasilas, Simeon, an ancient archbishop 
of Thessalonica, St. Gregory the Great, Dorotheus, Archimandrite 
of Palestine, and so forth. However, he was not primarily a scholar, 
but a child of the Renaissance; that is partly why he got on so well 
with the King, He interested himself in what Erasmus had writ- 
ten, he liked Clement Marot's poetry, though Marot was accused 
of heresy, and he counted Rabelais among his friends. It was the 
Guise interest that procured Rabelais his position as cur at Meu- 
don. The Cardinal was considered the Maecenas of the period, 
and was deluged with flowery dedications of books and poems- One 
of his prot6gs was Lazare de Bai'f, a distinguished scholar, one of 
the eminent French humanists, and father of the poet Jean-Antoine 
de Baif, a member of the Pl&ade and another lover of spring: 

La froidure paresseuse 
De I'yver a fait son temps; 
Voicy la saison jctyeuse 
Du d&licieux printemps. 

The lazy cold of winter 
Has come and gone away; 
This is the joyous season 
Of spring so blithe and gay. 


The Cardinal was so helpful that we find Erasmus writing his 
congratulations to Laxare dc Basf; "Gmtulor tuts stud Us i$tum 
Maccenatem non minus benignum qu&m potenttm, I congratulate 
you in having a Maecenas not less benevolent, than powerful, for 
your studies." The Cardinal procured for Ba'if the post of Ambas- 
sador to Venice, where he showed himself incompetent except in 
the matter of procuring lace and falcons, and in discovering Greek 
manuscripts, I should also except his success in making love to a 
Venetian lacly > who became the mother of the poet. 

Another distinguished humanist,. Cardinal Sadolct, a friend of 
Bembo's and secretary to Leo X and Clement VII, is found writing 
to the Cardinal (1532) : "Since the time I knew you in Rome, when, 
after some conversations with you, I could fully satisfy myself that 
your goodness and worth are not inferior to the nobility of your 
family or your high station, I have always had a very lively affec- 
tion for you and have professed a particular veneration for Your 
Greatness." After this beginning one is not surprised to find that 
Cardinal Sadolet is asking the Cardinal of Lorraine to introduce 
his nephew to King Francois, and that the Cardinal received the 
nephew most graciously. Other letters show the Cardinal's inter- 
est in deserving scholars. Erasmus writes to him (1527); "Your 
generosity has laid such a heavy burden upon me that 1 have 
no idea how I shall ever pay it, even in part. I don't speak only of 
your truly royal present, but much more of the singular sympathy 
and favor you show me." But, as usual with the humanists, Eras- 
mus's gratitude looked to the future as much as to the past. Car- 
dinal Jean, du Bellay, uncle of the poet and patron of Rabelais, wrote 
many Latin poems to the Cardinal, and his magnanimity and 
broadmindedness are shown by the distinguished but unfortunate 
fitienne Dolet's turning to him for help. So did another poor 
fellow who had been put in prison for heretical thought, Nicolas 
Bourbon, who addresses him as a "hero full of goodness/* The 
celebrated poet Jean Dorat, guide, philosopher and friend to 
Ronsard, eulogizes the Cardinal; "From my youth, Jean, the fore- 


most glory of the House o Lorraine, encouraged me and supported 
me in my studies." Another poet, Des Masures, in Latin verses 
wrote an epitaph in which he calls on Renown to carry Jean to the 
highest heaven. He, at least, was not looking for favors. A Greek 
poet, and several Italian poets, expressed eulogistic opinions of him, 
and the notorious Pietro Aretino says of him: "The rumour of 
his arrival is like the north wind that scatters the clouds; the Car- 
dinal, among the other ambassadors, shines like the sun." 

Nor were the Cardinal's tastes confined to literature. Benvenuto 
Cellini tells of the Cardinal's giving him a hundred gold crowns, 
in return for a pretty little vase; and we know that the Cardinal 
decorated and furnished the beautiful Maison de Cluny, which he 
occupied as a town house, and that he brought back from Italy as 
chapel master a Fleming, Jacques Arcadelt, a man praised by 
Rabelais. All agree in applying to him the adjectives liberal, gen- 
erous, open-handed even to prodigality. At any rate, he left great 
debts when he died. But I have said enough to show that his 
intense Catholicism was due to the conservative traditions of his 
class and family, and not to fanaticism. 


CARDINAL DE GUISE, In spite of his dexterity, his social gifts, and of 
being compagnon de coeur to the King, somehow for a time fell 
out of royal favor. Perhaps it was because he agreed with prudent 
old Anne de Montmorency, who also lost the King's favor, that the 
King would do well to forego his claims upon Milan; perhaps it 
was because, in accordance with the practice of the times, he 
accepted gifts from the Emperor; or, it may have been because the 
King was growing old, infirm and crochcty. At any rate, for the 
last years of the King's reign neither of the Guises was at court. 
Claude did not care. He was of the old type of independent feudal 
lord, and besides he was immensely proucl and happy in his two 
brilliant sons, Francois and Charles. Charles went into the 
Church; but Francois became a soldier and from early adolescence 
accompanied his father on his campaigns. 

Francois was tall and rather slender, lanky, his eyes large and 
blue like his father's, his face oval, his hair fair, and his complexion 
of olive hue, and after attaining manhood he wore a fair, thin 
beard. He had been brought up to arms from a child and was a 
great horseman. We never hear of him at court as a young man, 
He served with distinction under his father in various campaigns 
in the north. One episode is memorable* Ambroise Par6, the 
famous surgeon, has left an account of it. Dr. Par< says that he was 
with the army near Boulogne, at that time in possession of the 
English. "Monseigneur, the Due de Guise [he was but Comte 
d'Aumale at the time], Francois de Lorraine, was wounded before 
Boulogne by the thrust of a lance, which entered above his right 



eye, drove down towards the nose and issued out on the other side, 
between neck and ear, with such violence that the iron tip of the 
lance, with a bit of the wooden shaft, was broken of? and remained 
in the wound, so that it could not be pulled out except by main 
force, even with a blacksmith's pincers. Nevertheless, notwith- 
standing the great wrench, accompanied by fracture of bones, 
nerves, veins, arteries and smashing and breaking other parts, the 
Duke, by God's grace, was cured. The Duke always went into 
battle with his visor up, and that is why the lance went clear 
through." The man who pulled out the spearhead was Dr. Regnier, 
a surgeon from Vendome. And a third surgeon, Nicolle Laver- 
nan, of very high reputation, told Brantome that it had been neces- 
sary to put his foot on Francois's head in order to pull out the shaft 
by main strength. Such was the man's courage. From the great 
scar left on his face, he got his title "le BdafrL" The King was 
much concerned about the wound, and made inquiries. Francois 
wrote to him: "Sire, I take the liberty of telling you that I am 
well, and I hope that I shall not be blind of my eye. Your very 
humble servant, Le Guizard." His father only rallied him, and 
said that men of his rank ought not to feel wounds; on the con- 
trary "they should take pleasure in building up a reputation on the 
ruin of their bodies." (1545) 

A few years later Franjois de Guise married Anne d'Este, 
daughter of Ercole d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, and, through her 
mother, granddaughter of Louis XII, King of France. His brother 
the Cardinal Charles had arranged the match. The lady was very 
pretty. On her way from Ferrara to the French court she passed 
through Turin, and the French Commandant there wrote to her 
betrothed: "Godsbodikins, Mon Seigneur, you have one of the 
loveliest and most well-bred princesses I have ever seen. I am 
fearful lest God, after giving you in this world so much good 
fortune and joy, will punish you a little bit in the next." 

And there is other testimony that the Princess "was as pretty, 


wise and good as any princess in the world." Brantomc speaks of 
her several times. Once, he compares her with the Duchess of 
Lorraine: "Their beauty and charm may be said to have been equal, 
unless Madame de Guise had a little the advantage; and it was 
enough for her to surpass the other lady in those qualities, without 
competing in vainglory and haughtiness, for she was the sweet- 
est, best, humblest and most affable princess that one could find, 
although she showed in her behaviour a proud dignity. Nature 
had made her so admirably,, both in her tall handsome figure, and 
in her grave bearing and royal breeding, that any man might well 
be bashful and hesitate before going up to her, but having gone up 
to her and spoken to her, he would find nothing but sweetness, 
candor and pleasant friendliness, (which traits she inherited from 
her grandfather [Louis XII] the good father of his people) and 
the gracious French manner/' And Rrantcime speaks of her again, 
later in life, after M. de Guise's death and she had married the Due 
de Nemours: "You still see, today, Madame de Nemours, who in 
her April days was the beauty of the world, make defense against 
the wastes of time, though he defaces all things, I can avouch, and 
so could they that have seen her, that in her blossoming time she 
was the loveliest lady in Christendom- I saw her dance one day 
with the Queen of Scots, the two alone together * . . and all who saw 
them, men and women, could not decide which was the more 
beautiful Someone said, you might think the two suns met 
together that once, according to Pliny, had appeared to bewilder 
the world, Madame de Nemours, at that time Madame cle Guise, 
had a more generous figure, and If I am permitted to say so with- 
out disrespect to the Queen of Scots, although she was not a queen 
and the other was, she had a more majestic appearance*'* 
Ronsard wrote of her and her husband; 

Venus la saincte en ses graces habite, 
Tous les Amours logent en ses regards: 
Pource h bon droit telk Dame m$ri$e 
D'amr iU femme de notre Mars. 




'', ' i' ' i '*" ' ' \i' "''','' ' > .-, 'i* * , ' fa * , , , , ' , , >' V ' ' ,*'V^ii'iV/' 

'.-. .-.;.. {i'V^i-'-'j. '.' ; [ ^ i '.' ';*' '.:v : v^'I'f^ 

f.; ./"^^'^ '' 

(Photograph "by Giraudon) 

Anne d'Estc, Duchessc dc Guise 


A saintly Venus in her beauty lies, 
And all the Loves dwell in her eyes; 
So she has every right, and more, 
To be the bride of our French God of War. 

Anne d'Este was not only beautiful and charming, she was also 
highly cultivated. She spoke French, and I think Spanish, as well 
as her native Italian, and she had studied Latin and Greek. The 
atmosphere of the court of Este was impregnated with the enthusi- 
asms of the Renaissance. Beatrice and Isabella d'Este had estab- 
lished a despotic tradition. Anne's grandmother, her father's 
mother, Lucrezia Borgia, a much maligned lady, received at her 
court the most gifted Italians of the time, Ariosto, Cardinal Bembo, 
Aldus Manutius, Titian, Dosso Dossi and others. Her mother, 
Renee of France, was a liberal-minded woman who harbored Cal- 
vin and Clement Marot when they had fled from France. Her 
father, Ercole II, was a patron of literature and art, her uncle 
Cardinal Ippolito d'Este built the famous Villa d'Este at Tivoli, 
and her brother Alfonso (grossly slandered by Lord Byron), who 
succeeded to the dukedom, was the patron of Tasso. 

No doubt political considerations had their full share in the 
match, but the fact remains that the wife of Francois, and mother 
of Henri, was an unusually well educated woman. I dwell upon 
this, for there is a notion, encouraged by Macaulay's partisan 
phrase, "the brood of false Lorraine," that the House of Guise was 
a brutal family, arrogant and rude, with a taste for murder; but 
the truth is that, though the soldier sons in their respective genera- 
tions, Claude, Francois and Henri, were devoted to military 
matters, the family had their part, not merely in the Counter 
Reformation the restoration and buttressing of the old order of 
Christendom but in the Renaissance, with its interest in scholar- 
ship, literature and the arts. Cardinal Jean was regarded as a 
Maecenas, his nephew Cardinal Charles followed his example, 
Claude built the charming Chateau du Jardin, and filled the great 
Castle of Joinville with furniture, tapestries and ornaments from 



Flanders and Italy, and Francois chose his bride from one of the 
conspicuously cultivated families in Europe* The wedding took 
place on December 4, 1548, at Saint-Germain, and Claude had the 
satisfaction of seeing his brilliant son well and happily married 
before his death. 

His son Charles, who was born in 1524, five years younger than 
Francois, was also on the road to great distinction. He had the 
family traits of a good figure and a handsome face, was extremely 
intelligent and very diligent He was familiar with Greek and 
Latin, knew Spanish, spoke Italian fluently, and was learned in 
theology, He had a capacious memory, a rich, clear voice, and was 
a born orator. The poets compared him with Mercury the god of 
eloquence, and, if their evidence should be treated with circum- 
spection, there is the weighty evidence of Theodore de Bfee, the 
famous Huguenot scholar, who had been to see Charles de Guise 
at Reims, He said: "If I had the graces of the Cardinal of Lorraine, 
I should hope to convert half the people in France to the religion 
that I professed." Charles's qualities were recognized early, Ron- 
sard, monarch of letters at this time, wrote of him: 

Et ta vertu qui rcluit 
Par Its ans de ta jcuncsse f 
Commc I' or sur la richcssc 
Et la lunc parmi la nuit. 

And through thy youthful years 
Thy virtue shed its light, 
As gold on heaped riches shines, 
Or the moon upon the night, 

Ronsard must have known him in the household of Prince 
Henri, subsequently King Henri II, for Charles de Guise, though 
younger than that Prince, had graduated so brilliantly from the 
College de Navarre that he had been made his tutor. He succeeded 
his uncle Jean as Archbishop of Reims, was raised to the cardinal- 


ate at the age of twenty-three, and on his uncle's death became 
Cardinal of Lorraine. As priest his ecclesiastical behaviour was 
exemplary; he lived simply, kept neither hawks nor hounds, said 
mass frequently, stood up to say grace before dinner and supper, 
and was always zealous in his opposition to the Lutheran heresy. 

At the time of Francois Premier's death (1547), the second gen- 
eration of the House of Guise was growing in promise and power, 
worthy to take the place of the first. For some reason, as I have 
said, Francois Premier had suffered Claude to stay in Champagne 
and Jean to attend to ecclesiastical duties at Reims or Rome, during 
the last few years of his life, but with the new King, Henri II, the 
royal favor shone resplendent upon the House. Francois Premier 
had never admitted but one Guise, Cardinal Jean, into his inner 
Conseil, his cabinet, but Henri admitted three: Jean, Cardinal de 
Lorraine; Francois, still Comte d'Aumale; and young Charles, 
Archbishop of Reims. The other members were the King of 
Navarre (Antoine de Bourbon, first Prince of the Blood), the Con- 
stable Anne de Montmorency, the Chancellor Duprat, the Presi- 
dent du Parlement Bertrand, M. de Villeroy, Messieurs de Saint- 
Andre, father and son, and two others, thirteen in all 

With his family established so high among the greatest French 
nobility, Duke Claude could leave the checquered scene in the 
full glow of family pride. He died on April 12, 1550. He had been 
with the Court at Fontainebleau when he was suddenly taken very 
ill. As soon as possible he was carried to Joinville. For some reason, 
unknown to us, he believed that he had been poisoned. He said: 
"I do not know whether he that gave me the mouthful to kill me is 
in high station or low, but if he were here in this room and I knew 
his name, I should neither name him nor accuse him; rather I 
would pray for him and do good to him, and forgive him for my 
death with as much fervor as I pray to my Saviour to forgive me 
my own sins." This poisoning was believed in by the priest who 
delivered his funeral oration, but it seems very doubtful. However, 
his words show that he died in a Christian spirit. "Please God," 


he said, "I am leaving to go to join Him and His Saints." The 
funeral sermon did justice to his memory: "What a loss we suffer, 
to see plucked in this manner from the apple tree of true princes 
(planted in this garden of lilies, the Christian Kingdom of 
France), a fruit that would have been still able to live on in 
strength and virtue/' The King wrote to Duke Francois, "I hear of 
the death of my late cousin your father with unbelievable regret" 
And Marie, the Queen of Scotland, the eldest daughter, wrote: "I 
have lost the best father that a child ever had. 1 * 

At the time of Claude's death his brother Jean, Cardinal tie 
Lorraine, was in Rome taking part in a papal election, and he had 
hardly got home and heard the news "ccrtcs pltoyahlcs ct lamcn- 
tables" when he died himself, of apoplexy* Brantomc, who was a 
great admirer of the family, says that Jean's heart was as noble and 
generous, and his soul as honest and sincere, as any of them. 
Henri II had named him his candidate of first choice in the last 
papal election. 

And so the first generation of the House of Guise made place 
for the second, and Frangois, Ic Balafr^ became Duke in his 
father's stead. 



FRANCOIS I died in 1547, as I have said, and Duke Claude and 
Cardinal Jean followed him to the grave within three years. New 
powers rose on the horizon, and it was necessary for the second 
generation of Guises to set their course by new stars. The King 
was absolute, or nearly so, and his character and disposition became 
of the first importance. 

Fathers and their sons often fail to understand and sympathize 
with one another. It was so with Francois Premier and Henri II; 
their dispositions were different, their tastes, except for hunting, 
different, and the ladies in whom they were chiefly interested were 
antagonistic to one another. And how could a son be fond of a 
father who, to free himself from a Spanish prison, had put the son 
in his place there for four years ? So, naturally, though the son took 
reverential pains to erect a mighty marble monument to his father 
in Saint-Denis, he opened the door to his father's friends and 
ushered them out, and ushered in his own. 

Henry, himself, was not a bad fellow. One of the clever Venetian 
ambassadors, Lorenzo Contarini, has left a full description of him 
in a report to his government a few years after the King's accession: 

"Henri is thirty-two years old, and eight or nine months; he is tall 
and proportionally big, and very well made in every part. He has 
black hair, a fine brow, dark expressive eyes, a large nose, mouth 
of medium size, and a pointed beard two inches long. All this 
makes a pleasant face, and not lacking in royal dignity. He is 
physically vtry strong and greatly given to bodily exercises; every 



day from two hours after dinner till evening lie spends the time 
playing ball or football, or with bow and arrow, or something of 
the sort, and he enjoys all kinds of hunting like his father, espe- 
cially chasing deer, which he does two or three times a week, 
riding after the deer for six or seven hours, though very exhausting, 
He gallops through the forest at the risk of his life, and his horse 
often falls under him. He gets great pleasure from weapons and 
horses, and rides and handles all sorts of weapons as well as any 
one at Court. He jousts extremely well, and there is never a tour- 
nament or joust, and they are frequent, but he appears in armour 
like the others, and remains with his helmet on a long time, and 
jousts as much or more than any of them. It is the same in all 
kinds of tournaments, on horse or on foot And he always does 

"As to his character, he has great natural kindness, so much so 
that you can't rank any prince, no matter how far back you go in 
the past, above him. He wants to do good, and he does it; he is 
charitable, and never refuses audience to anybody. At meals there 
are always people about him who talk on some particular subject, 
while he listens or answers very politely. He is never angry, unless, 
sometimes, out hunting, when somebody gets in his way, and then 
he never uses immoderate language. For this he is dearly loved by 

"He has a good mind, to judge by the experience of his reign, 
and he is bold in all that he does. He is temperate, he eats and 
drinks very moderately; and as to bodily pleasures, in comparison 
with his father and former kings he may be deemed very chaste. 
And besides that, his amorous affairs are done so quietly that 
nobody speaks of them, or perhaps nobody knows them, which 
was not King Francois's habit. So, the Court that used to be licen- 
tious is now very respectable. He is very pious, never fails to be 
present at Mass every day, or at vespers on feast days, or at proces- 
sions in certain seasons. And on every great feast day, with extreme 
and devout patience, he touches a great many sick people who have 
scrofula, which they say is cured by the King's touch. 

Henri II 

(Photograph by Giraudon} 


"He has a good memory, and speaks French, Italian and Span- 
ish, which he learned when he was hostage for his father in Spain. 
In letters he can only read and write; but as to a knowledge of 
things in general or matters of State, he knows a great deal, and 
that would be more manifest than it is, if he were not different 
from most men, in that he thinks he knows less than he does. And 
the reason that he, with his good mind, does not know much more 
about them than his father did, is that his father did not like him, 
and, as long as he lived, not only never employed him, or had him 
interested in State affairs, but never admitted him to his Cabinet. 
And that is why Henri puts himself into the hands of the Con- 
stable, who has control of everything, and does everything. The 
Constable would like the King to remain in tutelage, and there- 
fore urges him to physical exercises, saying that will prevent him 
from getting fat (which the King is afraid of), and to enjoy him- 
self and let others do the work. Nevertheless one sees that the King 
acts more and more on his own responsibility every day. He is of 
a melancholy nature, reflects upon things, and usually spends the 
whole morning in listening to business of State. ... He is truthful; 
it has always been his code, even before he was King, to keep his 
word; and the general opinion at Court, among those that know 
His Majesty, is that he always performs what he promises. A good 
many people were afraid lest the influence of the Constable, by 
persuading him to do a thing in one way rather than another, 
would end in making him break faith; but there has been no clear 
case of that, and one may even assert the contrary, . . , and I dare 
affirm that if anybody reminds the King of a promise, no matter 
how much the Constable or anybody else tries to dissuade him, and 
no matter what the consequences to himself, he will not fail to 
perform it utterly." 

Such was the King who chose Duke Francois and Cardinal 
Charles de Guise to be among his closest advisers. But I think the 
Venetian ambassador gives an unfair impression of the Constable. 
Anne de Montmorency was an excellent example of a narrow- 


minded, bigotecl } valiant old soldier, conscientious, cruel and 

loyal. He was of the same age as Francois I, and for long years a 
close friend. At nineteen he was present, pour son plaisir, at the 
famous battle of Ravenna, in 1512, won by Oaston cle Foix against 
the Spaniards. At Pavia (1525), already a marechal, he was cap- 
tured with his King* He served with great distinction in cam- 
paigns against Charles V, and was made Connetable in 1538. He 
was a strict disciplinarian and harsh. Brantfime, who admired him 
greatly, says: tf ll savait Men braver ct rabroner, you bet he could 
scold and browbeat- . He had seen so much, and had learned so 
much by experience, that when lie saw anybody falter or make 
mistakes in his presence he knew how to talk to them and make 
them stand up straight. Oh, how he would clress down his officers, 
high and low, when they failed in their jobs, especially if they 
tried to justify themselves or answer back! You may rest assured 
that he gave them a good drink of mortification, and not only sol- 
diers but men of every condition, president, councillors, judges, 
whenever anyone made a blunder." And, Brantome did not share 
the general belief that Montmorency had been too cruel at Bor- 
deaux, when the people there had revolted at a new salt tax and 
murdered the King's lieutenant. The rulers of the city came 
humbly to meet him and tendered him the keys of the city* He 
answered: "Get out with your keys, I don't want them. I am 
bringing others with me (pointing to his cannon) that will open 
the gates, and, I will hang you all 111 teach you to rebel against 
your King and to murder his Governor/' Conservative people 
thought that Montmorency had not been cruel enough. He was a 
loyal servant to his King; nevertheless he fell into disgrace (1541), 
and was not restored to position and influence until the accession 
of Henri II, who was always very fond of him, and relied greatly 
upon his advice. 

He had the tastes of a grand seigneur educated at the court of 
Francois I. The CMteau of ficouen is one witness thereto, where 
the famous architect Jean Bullant, with his love of the antique 


learned in Italy, aided by Jean Goujon, set the marks of his genius 
in a noble ordonnance of pavilions, bays, pilasters, windows, dor- 
mers, mouldings, chimneys, and roof. And at Chantilly he 
filled the Grand Chateau (since demolished) with objets d'art, and, 
employing Jean Bullant and Philibert Delorme, built the Petit 
CMteau, which still exists. Another aspect of the Connetable ap- 
pears in the pleasure he took in the King's fool Thouy, a poor 
little creature, "Si bien appris, passt, repasse, dresse, alambique, 
raffine,et quintessence par les nattretez,postiqueries f champisserie$, 
gallantries et jriponneries de la cour, et lemons et instructions de 
ses gouverneurs la Farce et Guy, qu'il s'est faict appeller le premier 
fol du monde" Poor little fellow! After undergoing all that, he 
deserved to be reputed the first fool in the world. And the Conn6- 
table here showed his better side. He was very kind to Thouy. "He 
would take him to drive with him, made him sit next him in a 
chair or on a stool, and treated him like a little king; and if the 
pages or lackeys teased Thouy the least little bit, he scolded them 
and often had them whipped. And this Fool was so wily and sly 
that he sometimes complained without cause in order to have 
these young gallants whipped, and then he would laugh to split 
himself. There never was such a pretty little Fool, so funny and 

That was the Constable's pastime for facetious moments, but 
when he was serious "he could talk and argue well, if he wanted, 
as he did at times, at table or after dinner. And he loved a laugh, 
and would often utter quelque bon mot joyeux!' Brant6me tells 
various little anecdotes of him. For instance: "He never ate supper 
on Fridays, and always fasted in the evening; and, when he was at 
court, he never failed every night to go to see the Queen at supper 
time, and she at once made him sit down, and would stop talking 
to the others, and chat with him, sometimes softly, sometimes in a 
loud voice. It was pleasant to see these two chatting and listening 
to one another; and they often said something to make both laugh, 
and both knew just how to do that, and they laughed till the whole 


company present laughed with them In short, this Seigneur 

was accomplished in all things, grave or gay, . . . He was a chw& 
Her d'honneur ct de valcur, and an admirable servant to the Crown 
of France/ 1 

This was the trouble* The Guise family, very ambitious, were 
already disposed to be jealous of the Constable's dominating influ- 
ence over the King, and, being a very united family, each was 
thinking how all or any one of them could benefit one another. 
Cardinal Charles, very clever and a very agreeable man of the 
world, followed, as I have said, in his uncle Jean's footsteps and 
furthered the family fortunes by forethought and diplomacy. 
Among his worldly friends was a very beautiful lady, of whom I 
shall say more hereafter, Diane tie Poitiers, of very great influence 
with the King, who had two marriageable daughters. He, with the 
family's approval, arranged a match between Diane's daughter, 
Louise de Brezc, and his younger brother Claude (afterwards Due 
d'Aumale). This was shortly after the King's aarssion, and not 
only pleased the great lady, but also her lover, the young King, who 
showed his satisfaction by erecting the Comte cFAumale into a 
dukedom (duche-pairie) and creating Francois a duke and a peer 
in his father's lifetime (July, 1547). But Gasparcl de Coligny, when 
he heard of the match, sneered and said, "It did not bring the 
Guises much honor; it is better to have but one inch of power and 
favor with honor, than an ell without." The Guises retorted that 
Coligny spoke out of envy. Perhaps there had been a touch of 
envy, for Coligny and Francois had once been equals and now 
Francois was a duke and a peer. Anyhow, Ooligny's sneer was 
hardly justified* The lady in question had been born of ancient 
lineage, in honorable wedlock; there was no stain on her name* 
And later, Coligny did not sneer when his cousin, the Connetable's 
son, Francois de Montmorency, was obliged by his father to marry 
the King's illegitimate daughter, Diana of France, or when another 
cousin married a granddaughter of Diane de Poitiers, Neverthe- 
less it was true that Diane de Poitiers's favor was the broad road 
to promotion and success. 


THIS lady had an eventful history, and as a consequence her mem- 
ory has had to run the gauntlet of much calumniation. Of high 
rank, for her father was son-in-law to Louis XI, at fifteen she mar- 
ried the Grand S6n6chal de Normandie, a man of fifty-five, and 
humpbacked. By a strange chance she was in the train of Louise 
de Savoy, mother of Francis I, when in 1526, on a raft in the 
Bidassoa, the Dauphin, aged nine, and Henri d'Orleans, his 
brother, aged seven, were exchanged for the King, their father. 
Perhaps, for she was the most beautiful of the company and the 
most likely to be successful, she put her arms round the little Henri 
and tried to comfort him, as he was sent off a captive among 
strangers. Four years later, the two princes were returned, and 
Diane was with the court that came to welcome them home. The 
boy must have remembered her beautiful face and form. The next 
year, at a tournament run in the Rue Saint-Antoine, the lad wore 
her colors, black and white. He wore them still, twenty-eight 
years afterwards, in the fatal tournament of 1559. In 1531 she 
became a widow, and in 1533 Prince Henry married Catherine de 
M&iicis, niece to Pope Clement VII. Catherine was not pretty, she 
was a foreigner, and the marriage was considered a mesalliance. 
The Medici were abler, cleverer, more cultivated, more civilized, 
than the Valois, but they had made their way by buying and sell- 
ing, by lending and borrowing, by risks to merchandise and bills of 
exchange, and the noblesse of the sword turned up their noses. 
Besides, for years she failed in her primary duty: she had no chil- 
dren. And all these years the tall, handsome, calm, gracious Diane 



dc Poitiers represented to the young Prince all he wanted in 
woman sympathy with his tastes, encouragement in his deficien- 
cies, tenderness for his loneliness,, maternal qualities that he 
longed for more and more as life opened before him and he felt 
the chill of his father's indifference, the weight of his stepmother's 
nonentity, and the incomprehensibility (for he was not clever) 
of his wife's foreign, feline suppleness. Inevitably, in course of time, 
for he was young and she was beautiful, Nature deepened the 
bonds between them. 

Henry as a boy had never received any love, and he needed it, he 
needed affection. He was fond of Anne tie Montmorency, but the 
Constable was a rugged soldier old as his father, and a man who 
desired to govern the Kingdom; and, apart from him, he had no 
intimate men friends- He was lonely, unable to express himself, 
and diffident, and this beautiful lady, who had come down to meet 
him, a sad boy, on his return from captivity,, like a goddess, meant 
everything to him. He was devoted to her all his life. When 
King, it was his custom to visit her every day after dinner, stay an 
hour and a half, and tell her of everything that concerned him, 
matters of state and of private life. She meddled very little with 
public business, but her power was such that it was worth while 
for a cadet of the House of Guise to marry her daughter. Her 
dominion, like her beauty, lasted in its plentitiulc all the King's 
life. She had been faithful to her old humpbacked husband the 
gossip concerning Francois Premier and others, though some 
cynical-minded people believed it, did her great injustice and 
now she was faithful to her young royal lover* He was generous 
to her, he made her the Duchess of Valentinois, and assigned to her 
the moneys received from all officeholders for confirmation of 
their offices (a customary contribution on a king's accession), more 
than a hundred thousand crowns, but he had given almost as large 
a sum to each of his closest counsellors, the Constable, the Car- 
dinal de Guise and the Mar&hal de Saint-AndriL He also bought 
for her the Chateau of Chenonceaux, and built for her, or rather for 


himself and his own pleasure, the Chateau d'Anet. And he ought 
to have been generous; for when he was Dauphin, and pinched for 
money, she had given him of hers, and he had taken it as a gift. 
Historians have a way of calling her rapacious. All she did was to 
take what the King gave her, as everybody else did, after the ordi- 
nary human fashion of taking what one can get. As to procuring 
offices and gifts for her relations, no doubt demands came to the 
favorite thick and fast; and she probably passed them on to the 
King. The whole matter of demanding favors of the governing 
power was very much of the same pattern that it is now; and you 
have only to visit Diane's house at fitampes to see with what a 
modest dwelling she, for a time at least, was satisfied. 

As for her beauty, it seems likely that her portraits are wholly 
inadequate. It was not merely her name, but her form and face, 
that made Jean Goujon, or whoever it was, and Benvenuto Cellini 
depict the goddess Diana as her prototype. Her beauty must have 
been very dazzling in the pride of her middle life, for it was re- 
markable when she was old. Brant6me says: "I saw Madame la 
duchesse de Valentinois at the age of seventy [ten years after 
Henry's death, but she died at sixty-eight], as lovely of face, as 
fresh and as amiable as at the age of thirty. ... I saw her six months 
before her death, still so beautiful that no heart however strong 
could remain unmoved, although she had at that time broken her 
leg in the street at Orleans. She was riding, and managing her 
horse with as much dexterity and agility as ever, when it slipped 
and fell under her. You might suppose that her beautiful face 
would have been changed by the fracture, and the pain she suf- 
fered. Not at all; her beauty, grace, majesty, her noble mien, 
remained such as they had always been. And her complexion was 
still very white, and with no powder or paint. ... It is a pity that 
the earth covers that beautiful body." Diana used to dress in silk 
"gentiment et pompeusement" and always in black and white, 
not as widow's weeds, for such had been her custom while her 
husband was alive, but because the colors set off her wonderful 


complexion. And she wore her gowns open at the neck, in order 
to show her lovely throat. She was an ardent Catholic, and no 
doubt was largely responsible for the King's piety. 

So far as the King had any aesthetic tastes, they lay in building 
and in the decoration and furnishing of his palaces. Diana had 
similar tastes, and the united letters // and D that one sees in apart- 
ments of the Louvre, at Fontaincblcau, at Blois, on Diana's house 
at fitampes, are symbols of this sympathy as well as of their close 
union. They built the chateau at Anet together. It was on the site 
of the old Br^z6 manor house. Diana had a sentiment about this, 
and wished to preserve it. Philibert Dclormc, the great architect 
whom they employed,, says that he found it very difficult to work 
the old building in as part of the new chateau* It lay near the river 
Eure, north of the Foret cle Dreux* A great rectangular wall, sur- 
rounded by a moat, and guarded with towers at the four corners, 
enclosed the chateau and its jcu tic pttumc, its courts and its gar- 
dens. The chateau was built on a rectangle, enclosing the cow 
d'honnew, with three habitable sides, and for the fourth the en- 
trance wall with its noble portal You may see the cntr&e du grand 
logis in the court of the ficole dcs Beaux Arts in Paris, with its 
three orders "dans un desscin parfait dc godt ct de proportions!' 
The portal of the entrance wall was crowned with a great clock, 
adorned with four hounds that bayed at a stag on the quarter-hour, 

The most eminent artists worked to beautify the cMteau, Ben- 
venuto Cellini's disciples, or perhaps Jean Goujon himself, 
modelled the famous Diana and Stag (now in the Louvre) for a 
fountain. Leonard Limosin, the celebrated worker in enamel, 
wrought for the chapel the figures of the twelve apostles that are 
now to be seen in the Church of Saint-Pierre at Chartres. The 
whole was a great success, A traveller reported that "Nero's Golden 
House could not have been richer or more beautiful/' and the 
English ambassador, who lunched there in March, 1554, and ex- 
amined the furnishings carefully, says that they were "so sump- 
tuous and royal that he had never seen the like." Diana herself 


took the liveliest interest in the building. She says in a letter to 
Anne de Montmorency (Oct. 17, 1551): "I can't write to you 
of anything except my maisons; I don't spend an hour away 
from them." But, as Delorme says himself, she never interfered 
with his plans, though others, perhaps the King, seem to have 
been less forbearing. 

And all the time, as the Venetian ambassador says, the tie be- 
tween her and the King was kept as much as possible in the back- 
ground. When he presented her with the Chateau de Chenon- 
ceaux, his grant reads: "Henri, by the grace of God, King of 
France, to all present and to come, Greeting: We here proclaim 
that we, considering the great and commendable services that our 
late cousin Louis de Br&6, grand Sen^chal de Normandie, ren- 
dered in his lifetime to the late King of virtuous memory, our 
very honored Lord and Father (may God assoil his soul), which 
are such and so notorious that everyone knows them, and which are 
still beneficial to us and ours, and to the state and public weal 
of the Kingdom ... for these reasons we wish to render a return, 
so that all our good servants, and lovers of the welfare of our 
state, may take example and increase their loyalty and fidelity 
toward us, and therefore, 

"We, to our very dear and beloved cousin, Diane de Poitiers, 
his widow, for some recompense for such services, have granted, 
ceded, quitclaimed and conveyed, by these presents ... the estates 
of Chenonceaux and of Rosde, their houses and castle with draw- 
bridge, granges, courts, gardens, etc., etc. 

"Dated at Saint-German-en-Laye, this month of June, 1547, and 

the first of our reign* 


The next year he restored to her the lands of her father, the 
Sieur de Vallier, that had been confiscated by Francois I (for the 
Sieur de Vallier had been implicated in the Connetable de Bour- 
bon's treason), and conferred on her the title of Duchesse de Valen- 


tinois. At his coronation lie wore a doublet adorned with three 
crescent moons interlaced, and two DV united by an H. She had 
already, as we say, definitely arrived The Venetian ambassador 
reported to his government that the King did everything she 
wished. Her problem and the great tranquillity with which she 
faced it shows her character was how to deal with the Queen, 
She did well She never flaunted her position, she urged the King 
to pay his wife the attention that was her clue, and, but without 
intermeddling, interested herself very much in the royal children, 
in their bringing up, in their exercises, in their ailments; and 
when little Mary Stuart, a child of six, heiress to the throne of 
Scotland, niece to the Guises, was brought to the French Court 
and affianced to the Dauphin, it was she that looked after her, 

But the Queen what went on in her mind and heart? Mar- 
ried when but a girl of fourteen, a stranger in a foreign land, 
looked down upon as a part/mm, and for ten long years a child- 
less wife, loving her husband, and, far from beautiful herself, see- 
ing him devoted to a beautiful woman; and hearing suggestions 
that for her barrenness she should be put away, and a fertile wife 
procured, able to produce an heir to the throne what thoughts 
did she harbor day and night? She went to King Francois and 
said; "I have heard that it is Your Majesty's intention to give my 
husband another wife, in order to provide for the succession to this 
noble Kingdom, That is quite proper, since it has not pleased 
God to grant me the grace of children, and Your Majesty does 
not wish to wait longer, and I, in return for the many favors that 
I have had from You, am ready to endure this great grief rather 
than oppose Your Majesty's will I will enter a nunnery, or 
rather, if it may please Your Majesty, remain in the service of the 
happy woman who shall become the wife of my husband/* She 
wept as she spoke, and the King replied, for he was sensitive to the 
emotions of others, "My daughter, be very sure that since God 
has willed that you should be my daughter-in-law and the wife 
of the Dauphin, I do not wish it w be otherwise, and perhaps it 

(Courtesy Worcester Art Museum) 

Diane dc Poitiers 
School of Fontainebleau, attributed to Francois Clouet 


will please God to grant to you and to me that which we most 

Francois Premier never showed himself in a better light. But 
Catherine had to wait till January, 1544, for the birth of a son, 
and even after that, though several more children were born, she 
had to keep her heart battened down under the hatches. Her 
salvation lay in her own indomitable character, her supple dup- 
licity and in her love for her husband. There is a tale that she 
tried to induce a nobleman to throw vitriol at Diana, but the 
French were ready to believe Italians concealed poison in their 
pockets, and such stories are not lightly to be credited. On the 
King's death the treatment accorded to Diana was singularly 
gentle one gets the impression that all the great people liked her; 
she was obliged to give up her presents of jewels, to surrender 
Chenonceaux in exchange for Chautnont and to leave the Court. 
That was all. 



HENRY II found the political situation very much as it had been in 
his father's reign. France, almost encircled by the imperial power, 
was always apprehensive, and war with Charles V broke out again 
in 1552. The French army of the northeast crossed the Meuse and 
captured Metz, but illness and heavy rains prevented any further 
advance, and the army retreated back into France, The Emperor, 
angry at the loss of Metz, got together a great army to recapture it, 
and the rumours of his preparations rumbled through Europe. 
The duty of taking command of the garrison fell to Francois de 
Guise, as Governor of Champagne* The Constable, as Com- 
mancler-in-Chief, remained with the King. The Duke arrived in 
Metz on August 17, 1552, and prepared for defence, 

Brant6me, who was a lad of seventeen at the time of the siege, 
is still all a-tingle with excitement when, in middle age, he comes 
to write of it: "Now, just as we admire, and praise greatly, an ex- 
cellent artist who has created a masterpiece, and still more an artist 
who has created many masterpieces, so, in like manner, we must 
admire and honor this great Captain of whom we are speaking, 
not for one military masterpiece that he has executed, but for sev- 
eral. Among his masterpieces must be reckoned the defence of 
Metz, the Battle of Ranty, the Italian expedition and the capture 
of Calais. . . . But to undertake to describe the siege in detail 
would be superfluous, as our historians have filled volumes with 
narratives of it. Nevertheless, you must consider the great army 
that the Emperor brought to Metz he never collected such a 
multitude before or afterwards and the weakness of the place, 



for it did not have a quarter of the fortifications it has today, 
and you must consider the Duke's foresight in furnishing it with 
ammunition and provisions, in establishing rations and regulations, 
and preparing everything else necessary to sustain a long siege, and 
how little time he had to do all that before the siege began; and 
you must keep in mind the admirable military arrangements he 
made, and above all the admirable obedience rendered to him 
by the nobles, officers and soldiers, and by the whole city, without 
the slightest insubordination or the slightest ill humour; and then 
the gallant combats and sorties that were made* You must think 
of all that, and much else too long to specify, and, besides, there 
was the admirable gentleness and kindness that he used toward 
the enemy, dead, or half-dead, or dying of hunger, disease, poverty, 
and afflicted by all the miseries that are engendered by earth and 
sky. In short, whoever will reckon up all that was done in this 
siege, will grant that it was the most splendid defence that ever 
was, as I have heard famous captains, who were present at it, say, 
quite apart from the threatened assault that was never made, 
though the Emperor wanted it badly. For one day, when the 
enemy's signal to prepare for an assault was heard, M. de Guise 
made such brave preparations, and marshalled all his men, princes, 
lords, gentlemen, officers and soldiers, so excellently, and all 
manned the ramparts with such determination, ready to receive the 
enemy and defend a breach, that the Emperor's old and experi- 
enced captains, seeing the resolute bearing of our men, advised him 
to forego an assault, as it would mean the ruin of his army. The 
Emperor was very angry, but the danger was so obvious that he 
heeded their advice." 

The city of Metz lies at the confluence of the Moselle and Seille, 
which rivers, with the aid of simple ramparts to strengthen the 
gates opening on bridges, defended the city to the east, north and 
west. But on the south there is a broad space between the rivers, and 
this space was protected by fortifications, and it was here the danger 
lay. The Duke's engineers repaired and strengthened the walls 


across the gap, clearing out the moat, pulling clown outlying build- 
ings and so forth. It happens that Ambroisc Pare, the famous 
surgeon, to whom I have already referred, has left an account of 
his experiences during the siege; and from these I quote: 

"The Emperor, not long ago, as everybody can remember, be- 
sieged Metz with a hundred and twenty thousand men, in the 
middle of winter. There were six or seven thousand men in the 
city and seven princes, the Due de Guise, the King's lieutenant, 
MM, d'Enghien, de Condc, de Montpensier, de la Roche-sur-Yon, 
Monsieur de Nemours, and several other gentlemen, and a num- 
ber of old officers and military men. Many sallies were made 
against the enemy (as I shall tell later), and many more on both 
sides remained upon the ground- Almost all our wounded died, 
and it was thought that the drugs given them were poisoned. 
So M. de Guise and the princes asked the King, if it were pos- 
sible, to send me with drugs, for they believed that theirs were 
poisoned, as so few of our wounded got well I clo not believe 
that there was any poison; I think that the harquebuses, the sword 
cuts, and the bitter cold, were the causes of the deaths. The King 
sent word to the Marshal dc Saint-Andril, who was his lieutenant 
at Verdun, to get me into Metz, by any possible means. The 
Marshal de Saint-Andre bribed an Italian captain, who promised 
to get me in (which he did, and for that he received fifteen hun- 
dred crowns). When the King heard of the promise made by 
the Italian captain, he had me sent for, and commanded me to 
take from his own apothecary Daigne whatever drugs I should 
think necessary for the wounded in the besieged city. I took as 
much as a post-horse could carry. The King also gave me letters to 
M. de Guise, and to the princes and captains that were in Metz, 

"When I got to Verdun a few days later, Monsieur le Marshal 
de Saint -Andr< procured horses for me and for my servant, and for 
the Italian captain, who spoke very good German, Spanish and 
Walloon, besides his native tongue. When we were eight or ten 
leagues from Metz we travelled only by night, and when I drew 


near the enemy's encampment I saw, about a league and a half 
away, so many fires round the town that it seemed as if all the 
ground were ablaze, and I thought to myself we shall never be 
able to pass through those fires without being discovered, and then, 
as a consequence, we shall be hanged, or cut to pieces, or be made 
to pay a great ransom. To tell the truth, I would willingly have 
been back in Paris, the danger looked so imminent. But God 
conducted our affairs so well that we entered the town at mid- 
night, by means of a signal that my captain had contrived with 
a captain of M, de Guise's company. I went to see that nobleman 
in his bed, and he received me graciously, being delighted at my 
coming. I imparted to him all that the King had bidden me say; 
and I told him I had a little letter to give him, and that I should 
do so the next day without fail That done, he bade them give 
me lodgings and treat me well, and said that on the morrow I 
must be sure to go to the breach, where I should find all the 
princes and lords & a number of officers. I did so. They greeted 
me effusively, doing me the honor to embrace me, and said I was 
most welcome, adding that now, if they should chance to be 
wounded, they had no fear of dying. 

"The Prince de la Roche-sur-Yon was the first to entertain me. 
He inquired of me what was said about Metz at Court. I told him 
all he wanted to hear. Then he abruptly asked me to see one of 
his gentlemen, named M. de Magnane (at present Chevalier of 
the Order of the King and lieutenant of His Majesty's Guards), 
whose leg had been broken by a cannon bursting. I found this 
officer in bed, his leg all doubled up, with no dressing on it, be- 
cause somebody had promised to heal it by taking his name and 
his belt and uttering certain words. The poor gentleman was 
weeping and moaning from the pain he suffered, and for four 
days he had not slept night or day. I treated these delusive prom- 
ises with great scorn, promptly set the leg and dressed it, quite in 
the right way, so that his pain left him, and he slept all night. And 
since then, thanks be to God, he got well, and is at present alive 


and in the King's service. Milord dc la Kochc-sur-Yon sent me a 
barrel of wine to my lodging, bigger than a cask of Anjou, and 
said that when that was emptied he would send another. The 
officers all vied with one another in providing me with good 

"That done, M. de Guise gave me a list of ten captains and 
lords, and bade me tell them the King's instructions. That I did 
... I then asked M, clc Guise what I should do with the medicines 
I had brought; and he told me to distribute them among the sur- 
geons and apothecaries, and chiefly for the poor soldiers that were 
wounded, for there were a great many at the hospital I did so, 
and I may add that it was impossible for me to visit all the wounded 
who sent for me to come and clress their wounds* * * - 

"Our people often made sorties, by the orders of M. de Guise, 
The day before such a sortie, there would be so great a rush to 
volunteer, especially of young nobles [they were led by experi- 
enced officers] that it was deemed a great favor to let them 
sally forth and attack the enemy- They always went, a hundred 
or a hundred and twenty strong, well armed, carrying round 
shields, swords, harquebuses, pistols, pikes, partisans and hal- 
berds, and went as far as the trenches in order to wake the enemy 
up with a start. Then there would be a great alarm in the enemy's 
camp, their drums would beat plan, plan, ta t ti 9 ta, to, ta, to, ta, tou, 
touf, touf. And their trumpets and clarions blew great blasts, 
boutfc selle, bouttc sdk, boute sclle, monte a chwd, mof%te a 
chwd, montc h chwd> bouttc sellt, mont a cavd> a camL And 
all their soldiers would shout I'arme, fa l f arme t aux arm^s, <J I'arme, 
aux armcs, in all sorts of languages, according to nationality, very 
much as hunters raise a cry after wolves. And you could sec them 
rush out from their tents & huts, thick as ants, when an ant- 
hill is uncovered, to rescue their comrades, who were being slaugh- 
tered like sheep. Their cavalry, too, would come up on all sides 
at full speed, patati, patata, potato, patata, pa, ta, ta } pata, ta, eager 
to be in the mel^e, and bandy blows, giving and taking. Our men, 


then, when they found themselves overwhelmed by numbers, 
would return, fighting, to the city, and then the pursuers would 
be driven back by our cannon, which had been loaded with 
pebbles and bits of iron, squared or triangular. And from the 
walls our soldiers rained bullets on them thick as hail, to send 
them back to bed, but many lay down on the battlefield. No more 
did our men come back with whole skins, always some remained 
behind to pay tithes, happy to die on the bed of honor." 

Dr. Pare gives a graphic account of a ruse of the Due de Guise, 
and of his careful rationing of provisions, and of an elaborate plan 
he made to defend every section of the city, house by house, to the 
last, and then to burn all their possessions, their enemies and 
themselves, rather than surrender. "The citizens [I quote his 
words] agreed to everything rather than see a bloody knife at 
their throats, & their wives and daughters taken by force and 
ravished by cruel, brutal Spaniards." The news of the French 
purpose to resist to the uttermost was carried to the enemy's camp; 
at that, the Emperor "put some water in his wine," and decided 
that if there were to be no booty, no prisoners, no ransoms, it was 
not worth while to sacrifice more men. So, much against his will, 
he abandoned the siege. Pare states that the enemy lost more than 
twenty thousand men, and adds, ending with pardonable irony: 
"This mortality was due chiefly to hunger, disease & cold, for 
the snow was more than two feet deep, and their men were lodged 
in caverns underground, covered only with straw. Nevertheless 
each soldier had his camp bed, and a canopy spangled with shining 
stars more brilliant than fine gold; and every day they had white 
sheets, and they lodged at the sign of the moon, and they made 
good cheer, when they had it, and they paid their host in the 
evening so well, that they went oft quits in the morning, shaking 
their ears, and they needed no comb to card down the feathers from 
their hair and beards. And they always found the tablecloth 
white, and they only went without good meals, for want of food. 
Besides most of them had neither boots nor shoes, nor slippers, 


nothing for their feet, and many preferred to have nothing, be- 
cause they were up half way to the knee in mud; and because they 
went barefoot we used to call them the Emperor's apostles. . . . 

"After the besiegers had all gone, I distributed my patients 
among the surgeons of the city, to finish their cure; then I took 
leave of M. de Guise and returned to the King, who received me 
kindly, and asked me how I had been able to enter his city of 
Mctz. I told him just what I had clone. He gave me two hundred 
crowns besides the hundred 1 received at starting, and told me that 
he would never let me be poor. 1 thanked him very humbly for 
the gift, and the honor it had pleased him to show me." 

The Duke behaved with the greatest humanity to the enemy's 
wounded that were left behind; he had them treated by the 
French doctors and sent to hospitals, where possible, and he pro- 
vided carts for those that could be moved (as well as for the dead) 
to be sent back to the Imperial army. One more anecdote con- 
cerning the Duke on this memorable siege I must not omit. Don 
Luis d'Avila, commander of the Emperor's light horse, owned 
a Turkish slave, who stole his fine Spanish jennet and escaped 
within the walls of Mctz. Don Luis wrote to the Duke please to 
send back both horse and slave, for he knew that the Duke was a 
valiant, generous, courteous prince. The Duke restored the horse, 
but said, "as to sending back the slave, he could not, for his hands 
were tied by the privilege of France, introduced therein from time 
immemorial, that France, being wholly free as she has been and 
is, cannot receive any slave in her border; and whoever he be, even 
if he were the most remote alien in the world, if he had but only 
put his foot on the soil of France, he was immediately free and 
discharged of all slavery and captivity, and as much at liberty as 
in his own native land, and therefore, he, Francois de Guise, could 
not contravene the liberties of France," 

The Duke's affability, courtesy, generosity and humanity had 
long made him popular with all his friends, and now the defence 
of Mete made him a national hero, 



IT WAS only what Montaigne called la courageuse espSrance that 
could expect great feudal nobles, but recently brought under the 
dominion of monarchy, to act together in self-sacrificing union for 
the common good, A rift between the Constable and his nephews 
and the proud House of Guise was inevitable. The Constable, re- 
stored to power, itched to manage the affairs of the Kingdom, 
and, assuming too readily the authority of age and experience, 
jostled the ambitions of the Guises. And, very likely, if the Guises 
had not been such a united family the Constable, strong in the 
favor of the King, might have crowded his rivals out; but the 
Guises found their strength in union, and they were by nature 
a very affectionate family. 

It was Charles, the Cardinal, an amazingly clever man, that 
took the lead in schemes for the family advancement. He was 
devoted to his brother Francois. When Francois's daughter Cath- 
erine, his second child, was born (July 18, 1552), the Cardinal 
wrote to him: "I am perfectly delighted to hear that Madame my 
sister is so happily delivered. It is true that I should have been 
greatly pleased with a boy, but I hope you will begin again so soon 
that that mistake will be quickly mended, and, please God, we 
shall make a fine match with this girl. Even if you have been 
spoken to since her birth about her marriage, I have got ahead 
of you, for I was spoken to about it before she was born. So, if 
we play our part well, we shall be able to choose, and we have 
time enough to think it over." You see that he had his eyes 
towards the future, ready to make diplomacy serve family fortunes; 



and in order to make diplomacy serve ambition, three chief factors 
were to be considered: the King, the Queen (for her abilities were 
beginning to be recognized, and the King was fond of her in 
his sluggish, unimpassioncd way) and the Duchessc de Valen- 
tinois. Personal relations were of the utmost importance; the 
King's whim might decide a career, and the courtiers were obliged 
to study his tastes, his humours, his words. This task, for the 
Guises, fell upon the Cardinal of Lorraine. The Due de Guise, 
essentially a soldier, occupied his mind with military matters, and 
followed the counsels of the Cardinal in questions of family 
policy. So did the younger brothers, Claude, later Due d'Aumale, 
Louis, who went into the church and was to become Cardinal de 
Guise, and a second Francois (bom in 1534), who was to become 
Grand Prieur and G&i&al des Gal&res. 

All seem, even Louis, who was inclined to conviviality, to have 
inherited the family beauty and attraction. Brantdmc, who served 
under him, says that the younger Francois was one of the hand- 
somest princes of the time, one of the most agreeable and accom- 
plished, very tall and lithe, with a good figure, and an excellent 
horseman, and very courteous, especially in his manners to ladies. 
Gifted, attractive and polite, the five brothers, under the lead of 
the Cardinal, made the most of themselves, and quite outplayed 
the Constable. First came the marriage of Claude with Louise de 
Br6z6, at which, as I have recounted, the snobbishness or envy of 
Coligny made a breach between him and his old friends. Two 
years later the little Queen of Scots, their niece, came to France 
and was betrothed to the young Dauphin, The Venetian ambassa- 
dor reported: "The Dauphin loves her Most Serene Highness, the 
little Queen of Scotland, very much. She is a very pretty little girl 
Sometimes, with their arms round each other's waists, they go off 
into a corner where no one can hear their childish secrets.'* This 
brought the Guises very close to the royal family* And then the 
Constable, with the density of intelligence that, k is sometimes 
said, marks the military mind, made a bad mistake. In the little 

-"T~"Vv/ f "V 

l "M :f 



vw^; ^-' 

^^^/;&' r 


Scotch Queen's train came a young lady who caught the King's 
eye. The Constable encouraged the affair; he hoped to supplant 
Diane de Poitiers, and direct the government by means of a new 
royal favorite. The Queen and Diana united and drove the 
Scotch girl away, Diana's power remained as strong as ever; 
palace halls, stained glass windows, the very frame of an enamelled 
portrait made of her by Leonard Limosin, still display the inter- 
laced initials H and D, and show how unassailable Diana's posi- 
tion was. 

The old Constable, however, still kept his hold upon the King; 
in part because the King, half subconsciously, was a trifle suspicious 
of this brilliant family of Guises, who held together and possessed 
so many talents. A slow-minded man like the King finds himself 
more at home, more comfortable, with other slow-minded men, 
such as the Constable, than with quick-witted minds, which are 
oft round the comer before one has half grasped what they say. 
The Constable, by virtue of his office, enjoyed a handicap. He 
commanded the royal army, and had won some glory by the con- 
quest of Metz, which he captured by a ruse that would be thought 
dishonorable except in war or love; but this glory had been wholly 
wiped out by the Duke's victorious defence. In popular favor, 
especially in Paris, the Duke had left his rival far behind. And 
Fortune again favored him the next year (1553), for young Mont- 
morency, the Constable's son, surrendered the fortress of The- 
rouanne, in northern France, to the Imperialists. And the year 
after that the Battle of Renty took place, which Brant6me named 
as one of the Duke's great exploits. 

The Constable had attempted a campaign in the northeast; 
he was to march on Brussels and do great things. Prince Antoine 
de Bourbon and the Marshal de Saint-Andr6 were with him, and 
the King, in order to share in the glory, joined him, also. Guise 
was there, in command of nine or ten thousand men, but, in ac- 
cordance with the unorganized military system, was not, appar- 
ently, under the Constable's orders. The French found them- 


selves confronted by a strong Imperial army, and fell back to a 
small town, hardly more than a castle, Renty, on the borders of 
Artois, near Saint-Omer, and laid siege to it. The Imperial army 
came up to relieve the place. The Constable neglected to occupy 
the one position by which the enemy could attack with hope of 
success- It is hard to make out just what happened, but it seems 
that the Due de Guise, having taken the precaution to reconnoitre, 
for he was always thorough in details, stationed his contingent 
so as to remedy the Constable's omission. 

The next day, August 13, 1554, the Spaniards attacked; their 
leader, Count Wolfram von Schwartzenberg, swore he would 
"passer sur k ventre h la gendarmerie franfoise" ride over the 
Frenchmen's bellies. The fighting was fierce. The Duke, aided by 
his brothers, the Due d' Aumale and young Francois, led a counter 
attack; Coligny, colonel general of the infantry, also came up and 
took part. They put the enemy to rout and killed some two 
thousand. It was said that the Constable did not support the at- 
tack but ordered a retreat to be sounded "par Ic souffle de I'envie',' 
out of envy. But such calumnies are easily set afoot. That night 
the Duke and Coligny met in the King's tent. Guise, having heard 
that Coligny had started a report that in the thick of battle he had 
not been where he should have been, said angrily: "By Christ, don't 
you try to take away my honor." "I don't want to," Coligny re- 
plied. "You couldn't," Guise retorted, and they laid hands on 
their swords. Those about intervened, and the King commanded 
them to embrace and be friends. But it is obvious that enmity 
between the two was ever ready to raise its head. After the battle, 
instead of pursuing the defeated enemy, the Constable, always very 
prudent, at his best a sort of Fabius Cunctator, retreated, and Renty 
remained in the enemy's hands. The Venetian ambassador re- 
ported to his government: "The fault of these failures lies with 
the Constable. Before this, he was suspected of being pusillani- 
mous, but now he is thought to be a very poor sort of fellow, afraid 
to pursue an enemy, beaten and almost in flight." Nevertheless, 


the Constable's party was far from self-effacement; Coligny 
claimed the merit of driving back the Spanish. But Brantome 
says, "It is well known that M. de Guise was the principal cause 
of the victory because of his skillful plan of attack, his sagacity, 
and his valor." 

One incident in the battle is worth recalling. The Duke's stand- 
ard-bearer, M. de Saint-Phal, had started before the signal, and 
ridden ahead farther than he should have. The Duke, greatly 
vexed, galloped after him and struck him a sharp blow on the 
helmet to stop him. M. de Saint-Phal flashed out in anger, "How, 
Sir! You strike me!" The Duke, having no time to spare, rode 
on. After the battle he was told that M. de Saint-Phal was much 
off ended. The Duke remarked, "I will appease him"; and, meet- 
ing him at the King's tent, he said out loud before everybody: "M. 
de Saint-Phal! You feel yourself aggrieved by the stroke I gave 
you yesterday, because you had gone too far ahead. It was much 
better to make you stop when you were running into great danger, 
than if I had struck to make you go ahead when you were hang- 
ing back. So, my stroke, if you will accept it in the right way, was 
an honor rather than an insult. And all these gentlemen here will 
bear witness of this (they were listening with admiration to his 
handsome apology). So let us be on the same terms as before." 

So far the favors of Fortune had all been with the Duke, but now 
the Constable won a move. He compelled his eldest son, much 
against the son's will, to marry Diane de France, the King's daugh- 
ter by a Piedmontese lady. This was a great satisfaction to the 
King. And then followed the Duke's unsuccessful campaign in 
Italy. The King had inherited his father's hankering for dominion 
in Italy, and in 1556 a campaign was planned of which the Car- 
dinal of Lorraine was the main promoter. He urged the King to 
assert his ancestral claims to Milan and Naples. Italy, he repre- 
sented, hung like ripe fruit that would fall at a resolute touch. 
If the King were to gain possession of the dukedom of Milan and 
the Kingdom of Naples, he would hold the papacy between upper 


and lower millstones, and could compel the Pope to do what he 
liked. With a subservient pope, France would stand high above 
the Empire. Charles VIII had conquered all Italy as easily as 
catching a fly; to be sure he had lost it equally fast, as if on opening 
his fist the fly had flown out, but such a losing, with wise heads 
in the cabinet, could never happen again. And the Cardinal, 
weaving the wisps of fantasy into a shining pattern, imagined that 
Naples, once conquered, should and would be assigned to the 
worthiest of good King Rene's descendants, and if Francois de 
Guise wore the Neapolitan crown, and Milan were in the hands of 
one of the King's sons, who would have a better likelihood of 
being the favorite candidate of the Holy Spirit for the papal tiara 
than himself, already recognized as eminently papabile? 

The dream touched the King's fancy. Moreover, Pope Paul IV 
and his nephew Cardinal Caraffa were urgent for a French expedi- 
tion; they were Neapolitans and hated the Spaniards. It was a wild 
plan; nevertheless, the Cardinal of Lorraine felt confident. So the 
Due de Guise crossed the Alps in winter at the head of a French 
army; but things went wrong. The bark of St. Peter was sadly 
tossed about by the winds and waves of French and Spanish rivalry, 
and the Caraffas you can see their clever, crafty faces in Titian's 
portrait at Naples after prayerful consideration of the fable of 
the cat and the chestnuts, convinced themselves that their only 
safety lay in very mendacious diplomacy; so, Duplicity at the prow 
and Hypocrisy at the helm, they steered their dubious way. The 
Duke had expected honesty and help; he found neither. He floun- 
dered about, but there was nothing he could do. The expedition 
was virtually a total failure. In August he received an order of 
recall. This waste of effort, of money and men, would have sadly 
tipped the scales in favor of the Constable and his nephew, but 
Fortune never was more full of coquetry, and Guise's star again 
shone bright by the eclipse of Montmorency. In this same month 
of August, 1557, the Imperialists, sixty thousand strong, invaded 
France from the Low Countries and laid siege to Saint-Quentin, 


which lies on the right bank of the river Somrae. Coligny, with a 
small force, managed to slip into the town by night. A week later 
the Constable, coming up from the south, boasted that he would 
show the enemy un tour dc vieille guerre, and attempted to send 
in more reinforcements. No doubt it was a difficult task, but Mont- 
morency delayed and bungled. The able Imperialist general took 
full advantage of Montmorency's mistakes; his army came down 
in a solid mass on the scattered French divisions, and drove them 
in headlong flight. Three thousand were killed, twice that number 
wounded and six thousand taken prisoner, among them the Con- 
stable himself, the Marechal de Saint-Andre, and other great nobles. 
A few days later Ambroise Pare, the surgeon, visited the battle- 
field and found it strewn with "dead bodies all sunken and un- 
recognizable from corruption," a prey to dogs and birds. The dis- 
aster was immense. Coligny was obliged to surrender the town. 
When the old ex-emperor, Charles V, in his monastery of Saint- 
Yuste, heard the news, he asked: "Is my son in Paris?" 



IT WAS at this juncture that the Due de Guise arrived at Saint- 
Germain. His rivals were prisoners of war, and he alone stood 
between prostrate France and a triumphant enemy. The King 
appointed him lieutenant-general, which made him, in the Con- 
stable's absence, commander-in-chief. And, at once, in his careful 
way, he set to work to render the French armies able to defend 
the Kingdom. He was one of those men who take so great pains 
that the actions that spring from them bear all the marks of 
genius. But defense did not satisfy his hungry spirit; he must do 
something that would show her enemies, England and Spain, that 
France was dangerous. 

The city of Calais, ever since Edward III had captured it two 
hundred and eleven years before, had remained in English hands, 
a convenient gate for English archers and men-at-arms to invade 
the northern provinces of France- Detractors of the Duke say 
that the idea of recapture was filched by him from others; Mont- 
morency had thought of it, Coligny had thought of it, the King 
had thought of it. This is a foolish criticism. Ever since Jeanne 
d'Arc and the Btard d'OrMans had driven the English from the 
rest of France, every aspiring French soldier had entertained an 
ambition to recapture Calais. The others dreamed of it, the Duke 
of Guise did it 

The city, except for one avenue of approach by land, was sur- 
rounded by ditches, watery sands and marshes, over which, in 
winter, the water flooded deep. There were two forts; one com- 



manded the approach to the harbor by sea, the other the approach 
to the city by the narrow connecting strip of land. The titadel 
stood at the west of the town. In summer it was the English cus- 
tom to keep a strong garrison there, but in winter they relied upon 
the protecting waters, and reduced the force materially. For this 
reason the Duke laid his plans to attack in winter. He collected 
a fleet as quickly as he could, giving out various pretexts, and his 
brother the Cardinal raised money to pay adequate forces by land. 
In November (1557) his officers, disguised as fishermen, were 
reconnoitering the fortifications, the shore and the road of ap- 
proach, and by January 1 all was ready, and the Duke marched 
openly up to the city. The English had got news of the approach- 
ing attack, but two hundred years had lulled them into false confi- 
dence. The Commandant wrote to Queen Mary to ask for help, but 
she answered that she was informed that no danger was to be 
apprehended. The Duke acted with promptitude. His way was 
to make most careful preparations and then strike hard. The day 
after arrival he made a personal reconnaissance by night, taking 
advantage of ebb tide to examine the dunes. The next day, Mon- 
day, before dawn, he began a cannonade against the forts and 
compelled the garrisons to withdraw into the town. On Tuesday 
the French batteries were directed upon the citadel; in two days 
a breach was effected, and on Thursday, the Feast of Epiphany, the 
citadel was carried by storm. Defense was no longer possible, and 
the city surrendered. 

The fame of the great Duke shone like a beacon light. He had 
saved Metz from the Spaniards, he had taken Calais from the 
English. He was the nation's darling. People cried out that he 
was "born to be the support of Religion and the Throne, a man sent 
by Providence to save the country twice." The Parlement of Paris 
declared that "his glory spread through all the world," while 
courtiers, ambassadors and poets sang his praises. Joachim Du 
Bellay wrote: 


Ce que parlant de soy, Cisar mime disoit, 
Cettuy-cy peult le dire a bon droit (ce me semble) 9 
Je suis venu, fai veu, fay vctincu tout ensemble. 

The words that Caesar of himself did say, 
Of right, this man (methinketh) may, 
I came, I saw, I conquered, at Calais. 

The Duke was now, beyond cavil, the first man in France after 
the King. And yet, high as the fortunes of the House of Guise 
now stood, they rose higher still On April 19, 1558, the Dauphin 
was betrothed to Mary Queen of Scots (niece to the Duke and 
Cardinal), in the great hall of that part of the Louvre built by 
Pierre Lescot, either, it would seem, in the Salle dcs Caryatides or 
the Salle La Gaze, the Cardinal de Lorraine officiating; and, a few 
days later, on April 24, the marriage was celebrated in the Cathe- 
dral of Notre-Dame. Here, in the absence of the Constable, still 
a captive, the Due de Guise, acting as Grand-Maitre (Lord High 
Steward), was marshal of the ceremonies. It was a notable cere- 
mony, and the Duke "donna si bon ordn h tout qu'il en remporta 
grand louange, performed his task so well that he won great 

One would expect from these brilliant successes that Francois 
de Guise would have stood all-powerful in the State. But the very 
greatness of his fortune he a national hero, and Montmorency in 
captivity worked against him. The King was fond of the old 
Constable, and for one reason or another he did not like the Guises. 
As I have said, he was in the position of a slow-witted man con- 
tinually urged on by men vastly his superiors in intelligence and 
energy. He was conscientious in listening to business, but all the 
time he wanted to get away from the council room and play tiers 
in the jeu de paume, or go hunting, or beat his friends at long 
jumping, while ladies looked on and admired his prowess. But 
he was kept indoors while the Cardinal unrolled before him all 
sorts of complicated matters, civic and ecclesiastical, or the Duke, 


with solicitations, entreaties, almost commands, outlined schemes 
of offense and defense, of hiring lansquenets, reiters, Switzers, of 
casting cannon and culverin, of redoubts, bastions, transportation, 
carts, mules, apothecary's drugs and all the niceties of war. The 
King was personally brave, but war was a very serious matter, and, 
like all serious matters, bored him. Action, except for games, tour- 
naments and the chase, bored him; he liked violent exercise for 
his athletic frame on horse or afoot, and then to come back to din- 
ner, and after dinner to talk awhile to the still beautiful Diana, 
and then a good bed and a solid sleep. The one man he really 
liked was the Constable. Anne de Montmorency, too, was dull, a 
regular old soldier, whose mind revolved slowly on familiar rails, 
stopped at regular stations, a sort of huckleberry train of a mind, 
running on a Sunday schedule, and yet so full of experience, loy- 
alty and courage that very few realized how poor a mind he had. 
The King missed him very much and wanted him back. 

The only way for the King to get Montmorency back was to 
make peace with Spain. And, indeed, there were good reasons 
for peace; both Kingdoms were exhausted, the two Kings had 
drained their treasuries, and squeezed the last pennies from their 
impoverished subjects. Bankers, merchants, manufacturers, shop- 
keepers, farmers, all wanted peace. And not only Montmorency, 
but the Marechal de Saint- Andre, the Due de Longueville, the Due 
de Montpensier, the Comte de la Rochefoucauld, and Coligny, 
were Spanish prisoners, and longed to get home. Montmorency 
was nearing seventy, his fingers itched to hold the reins of govern- 
ment and displace the Guises; besides, he wanted to see what 
Pierre Chambiges and Jean Bullant had done at Chantilly, and 
he had his old hankering to add to his collection of art. Diane de 
Poitiers, also, alarmed at the power of the Guises, threw her in- 
fluence on the side of getting the Constable back. So did the Queen, 
beginning to feel the strength that came with her brood of chil- 
dren. In spite of remonstrances from the great Duke, negotiations 
for peace were begun; Montmorency, Saint-Andre and the Car- 


dinal de Lorraine were appointed the French commissioners. 
There were many difficult questions. The English demanded the 
return of Calais; Antoine de Bourbon, King of Navarre, wished 
to recover his Spanish provinces, and the Empire desired back the 
three bishoprics, Metz, Toul, and Verdun. In this matter, and, I 
think, for the first time, the Due de Guise and his brother the Car- 
dinal were not of one mind. The Cardinal looked to the interests 
of the Church, and desired peace in order to enable the govern- 
ments of France and Spain to make a united attack upon heresy; 
the Duke looked to the military interests of the Kingdom and 
desired war. The King had chosen his commissioners for the sake 
of peace, he knew that the country needed peace and that the Duke 
was the only obstacle. He wrote to Montmorency: 

"My friend , . . I assure you that M. de Guise does not want peace. 
He remonstrates and says that I have greater means to continue the 
war than ever I had, and that I shall not lose as much by making 
war as I shall by making peace Do all you can to give us peace; 
and don't show this letter to anyone but Marshal de Saint-Andr, 
and then burn it. The person (named in my letter) said to some- 
body here that not one of you would get out of prison as long as 
the war lasts. So, reflect on this. It is a matter that concerns you." 

Undoubtedly the Constable did reflect upon it. So did his fellow 
commissioner, the Mar&hal de Saint-Andrei On the other hand 
there was some support for the Duke of Guise and his military 
policy. The King of Navarre, Antoine de Bourbon, disappointed 
that no attention was paid to his claims to recover the Spanish port 
of Navarre, sent one of his gentlemen to the Due de Guise with 
this message: 

"The King of Navarre is wholly friendly to the Due de Guise 
and the Cardinal of Lorraine, not only as a cousin but as a 
brother, . . . And although M. le Connetable has written him 


several letters, he has always said that he would never trust him, 
for he well knows that this semblance of friendship that the Con- 
stable shows him is merely to draw him over to the Constable's 
side, in order to ruin the Guises. The little account the Constable 
made of the King of Navarre's interests in these negotiations shows 
clearly how little friendship he really has." 

And Marechal Brissac, who held a command in Piedmont, sent 
his secretary to plead with the King against the proposed abandon- 
ment of the French claims to Italy. The Due de Guise, who was 
present at the interview between the secretary and the King, broke 
in: "I swear to you, Sire, that you are taking the wrong road. Even 
if you did nothing but lose for thirty years, you could not lose 
as much as you are ready to give up at a single stroke. Put me in 
the worst of the places that you propose to surrender, and I will 
defend it in the breach with more honor than I could ever gain 
during so disadvantageous a peace as you wish to make. And you 
have other servants, Sire, who would do as much as I, both here 
and in Italy. Trust to my brother's zeal and to mine to obtain the 
moneys necessary to equip and maintain, during an entire cam- 
paign, an army as strong as that which you had a year ago. You 
would not even have to summon the States-General again, for my 
brother has already spoken to several rich bankers, and they, upon 
security that we have agreed upon, will bond themselves to make 
the necessary payments and advances." And he went on to lay 
before the King his plans to capture Douai, Cambrai, Lille, Valen- 
ciennes and so forth. The King pretended to be impressed by his 
arguments, and sent Brissac's secretary on to the plenipotentiaries, 
but he also wrote a secret note to the Constable, representing that 
the Guises' plans were mere plots to enable them to remain at the 
head of affairs, and he pressed for the execution of the treaty. 

The treaty was signed on April 3, 1559. France submitted to 
large demands; she renounced Savoy, and almost all her claims on 
Italy, but recovered some cities on the northeast border. Brissac 


exclaimed: "0 wretched France, to what ruin you have let your- 
self be reduced, you that can triumph over all the nations of 
Europe!" Brantome says: "In one hour, by the stroke of a pen, 
we were obliged to surrender everything, to smirch and blacken all 
our noble victories gained, for three or four drops of ink." 

Among the terms of the treaty it was agreed that the King's 
daughter Elizabeth should marry Philip II, and his sister Margue- 
rite, the Duke of Savoy. On the occasion of this double wedding 
there were great celebrations, and a three-day tournament was 
run in the Rue Saint-Antoine, in front of the Hotel des Tour- 
nelles, where the Place des Vosges stands today. On the last day 
the athletic King jousted against the Duke of Lorraine, the Duke 
de Guise and a young captain of his Scotch guard, Gabriel Mont- 
gomery; in this last encounter the King had got slightly the worst 
of it, and insisted in running another course. This time Mont- 
gomery's spear broke, the wooden shaft split into shivers, and one 
splinter penetrated the opening of the visor, wounding the King 
in the temple. Ambroise Pare and the famous Belgian surgeon 
Vesalius worked over the wound in vain; the King died on July 10, 
1559. His last words were: "May my people remain steadfast in 
the faith in which I die," 


THE Spanish war, as we have seen, continued all through King 
Henry's reign, but it must not be thought to dominate the pattern 
of those twelve years. That pattern, on the whole, is gay, warm, 
joyous and elegant. Ronsard's picture of spring may be applied 
to it: 

Au mois de May quc I'Aube retournte 
Avoit esclose une belle journee, 
Et que les voix d'un million d'oiseaux, 
Comme a I' envy du murmure des eaux f 
Qui haut, qui has, contoient leurs amourettes 
A la ros&e, aux vents, et aux fleurettes; 

LOTS' que le del au Printemps se sourlt, 
Quand toute plante en jeunesse fleurit; 
Quand tout sent bon, et que la riche terre 
Ses riches bien de son ventre desserre 
Toute joyeuse en son enjantement. 

When Dawn returning, in the month of May, 
Had fresh disclosed a beauteous day, 
And million birds their madrigals 
Had murmured with the water-falls, 
One loud, one low, of love and lovers true, 
To flowers, and winds and morning dew; 

Then Heaven itself smiled on the spring 
And budding plants for joy did sing, 
And all smelt sweet and the rich earth 
A wealth of beauty brought to birth. 


To be sure, there is a black recurrent figure that runs through it 
all, and in succeeding reigns blots the fair design like spilt ink; but 
during Henry's life the sunny colors prevail, and we must think 
of the Cardinal of Lorraine in his Maison de Cluny among tap- 
estries from Flanders, enamels from Limoges, and bits of ancient 
beauty dug up in Italy, and of the famous Duke, in intervals be- 
tween campaigns, at his great castle in Joinville, looking down 
across gardens, and vineyards and the steep roofs of the town, at 
the pleasant valley of the winding Marne, while, within, pictures, 
statues and well-wrought furniture showed the taste of his parents 
and of his Italian wife. Fontainebleau, Chambord, Chenonceaux, 
Anet, ficouen, Chantilly, Saint-Germain, Azay-le-Rideau Phili- 
bert Delorme, Jean Bullant, Pierre Lescot, Jean Goujon, Germain 
Pilon, Pierre Bontemps, Clouet, Goudimel, Rabelais, Ronsard, 
Joachim Du Bellay, Remy Belleau, their owners, patrons, admirers 
and followers, make the real background of the time. 

The black recurrent figure that casts a shadow across this goodly 
garden is heroic, or the shadow would be neither so large nor so 
dark, but one wishes it had never fallen there. With much that 
men, wisely or not, call good, John Calvin adopted all that is 
dubious in the teachings of Hebraic Christianity. Because children 
are sometimes childish, why should a prophet call upon she-bears 
to devour them? Convinced that nobody who disagreed with 
him could be right, Calvin disapproved of dissentients as cordially 
as the Spanish inquisitors, and, full of scorn for those that lacked 
his iron character, sneered at liberals who approved "that pretty 
book De non comburendis hmticis" It is sad to see so much intel- 
lect, so much courage, spilling from ancient sacred vessels the milk 
of human kindness and laboring for the triumph of a cause that 
did not make for human happiness. The Renaissance had ac- 
cepted the pagan attitude of bonhomie and kindly indifference for 
ideas beyond man's reach, Erasmus treated the errors and way- 
wardness of the Catholic Church with charming intellectual 
levity, Rabelais railed at the monastic system with jolly benevo- 

(Photograph by Girmidon) 

Remy Belleau 


lence; but Calvin took life hard. He knew no doubts. His right- 
eousnesshowever unpleasant, however unkind, however untrue 
it might look to the ordinary man Calvinistic righteousness, must 
prevail in this naughty world; the errors of Popery must be over- 
thrown; Epicureans must learn that they are playing with fire; 
ignorant people who venerate men and women in whom they 
find divine virtues must be hauled away from that abhorrent prac- 
tice; simple-minded men of lonely heart, maimed and incomplete 
without the compassion of the divinely feminine, must not commit 
the idolatrous outrage of worshipping the Virgin Mary; no longer 
should the overburdened conscience free itself in the confessional. 
Away with traditions, wrought by centuries of spiritual hunger! 
Let the sick soul find comfort, though of itself helpless, all its good 
works vain, in the blessed doctrine that it may be, or may not be, 
among the elect whom God in His good pleasure has chosen 
from all eternity may be saved for everlasting felicity by God's 
grace, or may be doomed to all eternity. During the following 
reigns Calvin's accomplishments will dominate the scene, the 
new order of dissent will struggle with the old order of conformity, 
in hatred and passion, in battle and murder; but in Henry's time 
there is a delightful garden of art and thought and poetry, in 
which the Cardinal of Lorraine, the Cardinal Du Bellay and other 
cultivated prelates and lords enjoy the works and the friendships 
of artists and men of letters. 

The reign of Henri II makes a zone of division between the 
epoch of Francois Premier and that of the later Valois; it is both 
a fulfillment and a promise. In the earlier period came the first 
burst of Renaissance architecture, in its enchanting youth there 
is the wing of the Chateau de Blois with its glorious stairway, there 
are Chambord, Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry and so forth a period 
when the French architects had fallen in love with Italian decora- 
tion, but contented themselves with outer adornments devised in 
Tuscany, Lombardy or Venetia. In sculpture the atelier of Michel 
Colombe guarded the pure French tradition, and there was also the 


gracious school of Troyes, that followed nature in simplicity, ten- 
derness and truth. In literature there were Clement Marot and 
Rabelais; for though Marot had his serious side, with his psalms 
and Calvinistic leanings, due rather to aversion from orthodox 
bigotry than to any concern over doctrine, he had his light side as 
well See his fipitre au roi pour avoir etc derobi*, his airy Dialogue 
des deux Amoureux, or his epigrams against his theological en- 
emy, the Sorbonne: 

Paris to beautify, the King 
(With other useful laws) ordains 
The building of some lovely thing, 
And thereto money gives and pains; 
A new town-hall both belle ct bonne 
And public squares to hold the masses, 
And in the rooms of the Sorbonne 
Sufficient space to house the asses, 

Rabelais's book, too, is so gay that Montaigne ranks it among 
books sirnflement plaisans, a book of merriment, un livre joyeux, 
as fimile Faguet calls it. And his philosophy is the very spirit of 
the French Renaissance, "Let every man possess his soul in cheer- 
fulness, let him sing, laugh and talk, enjoy the golden sunshine and 
the purple wine, and live according to the laws of the world." It 
is this spirit that rendered artist and artisan jocund and debonair, 
and tinged with lovely fancy all their carvingsflowers, vines, 
birds, sirens, scrolls that adorn the chateaux of the Renaissance. 
Their theological doctrine is to "rtfouir sans offense de Dieu, to 
enjoy joy without doing wrong." Is not Rabelais's view of le grand 
Peut~6tre, and of the appropriate preparation for it, wiser, kinder, 
and more comforting, than Calvin's? 

All our dramatis personae took pleasure in the arts. Francois 
Premier delighted in them. Anne de Montmorency employed 
Jean Bullant, the famous architect, and Jean Goujon, imagier> 
maitre magon et architecte, at his chateau at ficouen; and he beauti- 


fied this chateau with mural paintings of great excellence and with 
stained glass, part grisaille, part telling stories of Cupid and Psyche, 
of banqueting gods, of Proserpina (some the work of Bernard 
Palissy). He placed there Michael Angelo's statues of the Two 
Slaves and a copy of Leonardo's Last Supper. Later, at Chantilly, 
he employed Jean Bullant to build the chdtelet, and he furnished 
the grand chdteau with all sorts of objets d'art, tapestries and 
faience from Italy and Flanders, enamels by Leonard Limosin, 
and suchlike. Claude de Guise filled the great castle at Joinville 
with all sorts of things, he built the Chdteau du Jardin, and had his 
portrait, and that of Antoinette, done in enamel by one of the 
Limousin masters, perhaps by Leonard, perhaps by one of the 
Penicauds, or Pierre Reymon or Pierre Courtoys. Cardinal Jean 
de Lorraine, when he acquired the Seigneurie of Meudon, built 
a chateau there, employed the fashionable Italian painter and 
worker in stucco, Primatice, to construct a grotto, and Philibert 
Delorme to bring water from the Seine, and he gave the curacy 
to Rabelais. 

With Henry the Second's reign the Renaissance takes a turn, 
goes in a new direction, imitating the antique. Poets must drink 
of Helicon and go to Homer and Virgil, architects must study 
Vitruvius and visit the remains of temples on their ancient sites; 
Philibert Delorme calls the classical style la vrale architecture. He 
himself had spent three years in Rome, studying, measuring, mak- 
ing drawings (1533-1536), and there he met the cultivated Car- 
dinal Du Bellay, the French ambassador (uncle to the poet), who 
had brought Rabelais with him, and was collecting statues and 
antiques for himself and for Anne de Montmorency. Du Bellay 
took Delorme into his employ and introduced him to the Con- 
stable, to Diane de Poitiers and to Henry II, then Dauphin. For 
Du Bellay, Delorme designed the Chateau Saint-Maur (1541- 
1544) "the paradise of health, pleasantness, tranquillity, comfort, 
delight and all the innocent pleasures of agriculture and country 
life," as Rabelais said of it. For Diane de Poitiers he built the 


CMteau d'Anet, and later a bridge across the Cher for her Chateau 
of Chenonceaux, and under Henri II he became superintendent of 
public buildings, and took control of all royal palaces, except the 
Louvre, of which Pierre Lescot had charge. Delorme's Palace of the 
Tuileries is gone, but that portion of the Palace of the Louvre de- 
signed by Lescot and adorned by the sculpture of Jean Goujon 
"cisele comme un joyeatt" as Anatole France says stands there to 
delight all visitors. 

Jean Goujon embodied in stone the gaiety, delicacy and grace of 
the French Renaissance, His nymphs of the Fontaine des Inno- 
cents, in Paris, and their attendant bas-reliefs, his nymphs of the 
Seine and her sister rivers, his little angels and renommtes from 
the Chateau d'Anet, his work at ficouen for Montmorency, his 
caryatids in the great hall of the Louvre, and his decorations for 
Lescot's facade, combine lightness, grace and dignity so naturally 
that it seems he must have played Peeping Tom to nymphs, naiads 
and dryads as they stood, or sat or lay, listening to the pipes of Pan. 
Even the dormer windows which he designed for Diana's modest 
mansion at fitampes display his delicacy; and the relief of Renown 
on the Louvre deservedly found a place in Ronsard's verse: 

For the King's glory you have carved aloft 

A goddess on the palace of the Louvre, 

Who through her trumpet of Renown, with cheeks 

Full rounded, blows forever And, please tell 

The King that she doth represent my verse, 

That bruits his name throughout the universe. 

And it was in the beginning of Henry's reign that Ronsard, 
Joachim Du Bellay, Remy Belleau and their co-mates translated 
the ancient Greek poets, composed verses and formed the Pl&ade. 
Two of them, Du Bellay and Ronsard, issued the manifesto of the 
new school, the Defense et Illustration de la langue franfaise. Ron- 
sard leapt into fame, became a familiar friend of the King, and 
of Mary Queen of Scots, and afterwards of Charles IX. fitienne 


Pasquier says, "Never before had France had such a harvest of 
poets, telle foison de pohes" (1555). All were conservative, all 
loved law and order and beauty, and all were good Catholics. 
Pontus de Tyard became a bishop. And all the time Calvin was 
reigning in the little republic of Geneva, concerning himself with 
"blasphemies against God and mockery of the Christian religion," 
and planning the overthrow of Catholicism. But Ronsard, chew- 
ing the cud of sweet fancy, occupied his thoughts with the charm 
of women, Cassandre, Marie, Helene de Surgeres, with the beauty 
of the rose, of fountains, and of the Forest of Gitine: 

L'Este je dors ou repose 
Sus ton herbe, oh je compose, 
Cache sous tes saules vers, 
Je ne sfay quoy, qui ta gloire 
Envoira par I'univers, 
Commandant a la Memoire 
Que tu vives par mes vers. 

In summer I sleep, or repose, 
On your grass, where I compose, 
Hid beneath a willow tree, 
Poems that shall your glory be 
Throughout the wide Universe, 
Commanding Memory 
That you live by my verse. 

And Joachim Du Bellay composed his fipitaphe d'un petit chten 
at the time that Jean Calvin was expressing in a letter to Madame 
de Cany his dislike of a fellow man with whose views on theology 
he disagreed: "Knowing in part what sort of man he was, if I 
had had my wish he would have rotted in a ditch. His coming 
gave me as much joy as if a dagger had been twisted in my heart. 
But I never could have believed him so execrable a monster of all 
the impieties, scorning God, as he himself has declared, and I 
assure you that, if he had not escaped so soon, merely to do my 


duty, I would have sent him to the stake." But Du Bellay did not 
frequent the heights of Calvinistic theology; he merely describes 
his dog Peloton, a little white-haired, long-eared dog with big 
eyes and a snub nose, and a little tuft in his tail like a bouquet, 
and paws more delicate than a pussycat's: 

Le plus grand mat, ce diet-on, 
Que feist notre Peloton, 
(Si mal appelU doit cstrc) 
Cestoit d'esveiller son maistre, 
Jappant quelquefois la nuict, 
Quand il sentoit quelque bruit, 
Ou bien k voyant escrire, 
Sauter, pour k faire rire, 
Sur la table, et trepigner, 
Follastrer, et gratigner, 
Et faire tumber sa plume, 
Comme il avoit de coustume. 
Mais quay? nature ne faict 
En ce monde run parfaict; 
Et n'y a chose si belle, 
Qui n'ait quelque vice en elle. 

The wickedest thing he ever did, 
(But not so grave as to be chid 
And not a serious disaster) 
Was to awake his sleeping master, 
By noisy barking in the night; 
Or, when he saw his master write, 
He'd jump upon the table then, 
To make him laugh and drop his pen, 
And by his wagging tail confess 
His jubilation at success. 
But surely Nature never wrought 
A dog that did all that it ought, 
Nor was ever a thing so beautified 
But some defect within did hide. 


These poets had, in the sister art of painting, a worthy comrade 
in Frangois Clouet, to whom are attributed so many charming 
drawings of notable persons; whose delicacy and precision make 
him worthy to a seat beside Lescot, Goujon and Ronsard, for his 
people seem to live in a world where men are noble and ladies 
modest; a draughtsman of moderation and restraint, of that nc 
quid nimis that Delorme took for his motto* 


I DO NOT find much said of Antoinette's interest in art beyond her 
care to make her husband's tomb magnificent, and that she gave 
a Saint Sepulchre (a group of noble figures laying Christ in a 
tomb) to the convent of Cordeliers at Joinville. She had lived too 
much away from the Court to have breathed the gay atmosphere 
of the Renaissance. Nor is it said that the young Duchess, wife of 
Francois, had time to show the interest in the arts that in all proba- 
bility she had inherited, or acquired, at the Court of Ferrara. 
During her husband's lifetime she was too busy with her babies, 
Henri, born on December 31, 1550, Catherine, July 18, 1552, 
Charles, afterwards Due de Mayenne, March 26, 1554. Besides, a 
chatelaine of a feudal castle in her husband's absence was a very 
busy woman. Queen Catherine showed, when she came to power, 
that she had a decided taste of her own, and good taste, in archi- 
tecture. But the lady most conspicuously associated with the arts 
is Diane de Poitiers. It was not only in architecture that she was 
interested, but also, as I have said, in the works of Cellini, Goujon, 
Leonard Limosin and such, and in art generally. This was well 
known, and courtiers sought to take advantage of it. For instance, 
Cardinal Du Bellay writes to Philibert Delorme, while the latter 
is working on the CMteau d'Anet: 

"Rome, St John's day. 
[My dear Philibert] 

" . . . M. le Marechal [Robert de la Marck, who had married 
Diana's daughter Frangoise] swears that he will not leave here 



until I give him something to put over one of the doors at Anet, 
and has asked me to give him the measurements of the statue in 
order to prepare a niche for it. It is a head of Venus that I am sure 
is unsurpassed. The antiquaries here say that it is the work of 
Phidias, ... It is half colossal, and will need a niche five feet broad 
and six tall, and must be placed pretty high on account of its big- 
ness. I won't deny that there has been a struggle between my own 
desire for it and my devotion to the Duchess, but I gave in. The 
best you can do for me is to keep me in her good graces, and only 
for the sake of her good graces, for I shall not trouble her for 
anything else, being one who asks for nothing but rest at the end 
of my days, 

"In haste, Yours affectionately, 


Of all the patrons and lovers of the French Renaissance and its 
works, as well as of the arts of Italy and antiquity, none excelled 
Charles the Cardinal of Lorraine, a very worthy nephew of his 
uncle Jean, fitienne Pasquier, the scholarly lawyer, sent him a copy 
of the first section of his book, Les Recherches de la France, and 
wrote him this letter: 

"To the very Illustrious and Reverend Charles, Cardinal de 

"You have your hands so full of great affairs that I ought rather 
keep silent than urge you to read my little Recherches. Neverthe- 
less I know the homage that everyone, in his respective way, owes 
to you on the great stage of France, wherein the King has consti- 
tuted you a sort of second sovereign; and I thought that, among so 
many lords and gentlemen and others who are devoted to you, I 
should seem ungrateful, if in acknowledging the benefits that all 
France receives by your means, I do not make you a present of my 
best vintage, , . . and I believe it will be the more agreeable to you, 


because I have spent all my pains and efforts in an exposition of the 
things of France, which is the chief aim of all your talk and all 
your thoughts . . . and I propose to continue my enterprise , . . 
partly to rescue our France from the ravages of time, and also, if 
I may, to find some niche in your favor, at present the only re- 
source of literature and learning." 

There is always a temptation to panegyric when an author 
addresses a prime minister, or such, but Pasquier warns Ronsard 
never to flatter an unworthy person, and I believe that, like a 
gracious pastor, he follows his own counsel The Cardinal, given 
his profound orthodoxy, was not only a very admirable man, but 
also a discriminating patron of art and letters; as to which, I shall 
call Ronsard as a witness, for he (following as I believe Pasquier's 
advice) never tires of singing the Cardinal's praises: 

Le monde ne va pa$> comrne dit Epicure, 
Par un cat fortuit, mats il va par raison; 
Chacun k pent juger, voyant votre maison, 
Qui d'art rlgit la France et non pas d*avanture. 

Aussi le Roi vous aime, et le del vous appreste 
Un triple dladlme & bon droit sur la the, 
Pour vous jaire pasteur sur tous le sowerain. 

The world does not if Epicurus please 
Proceed by chance but by a wise forethought 
For all may see France governed, as she ought, 
Not haphazard, but by the House of Guise. 

The King admires you, and the Heavens hold 
The triple crown, of right, above your head 
To make you Pastor of the Christian fold. 

That sonnet was of the time of Francois II, but Ronsard felt the 
same in the time of Henri II. In a hymn to Justice he says: 

Charles, Cardinal de Lorraine 

(Photograph by Giraudon) 


Au temps que le Destin en Gaule fera naistre 
Henry second du nom, des autres rois le maistre, 
Que les deux a I envy s'efforceront d'orner, 
Justice avec ses soeurs la-bas doit retourner. 
Ce grande Roi choisira un Prince de sa race, 
Que d'honneur, de vertu, de sf avoir et de grdce 
Entre tons les humains n'aura point son pareil, 
Et sa bonte luira comme luit le soleil: 
II aura sur le front telle majeste peinte f 
Que du premier abord le vice en aura crainte, 
S'enfuyant devcmt luy, apr^s I 'avoir cognu f 
Prince si }eune: d'ans et de moeurs si chenu: 
Celui sera nomine le Prelat de Lorraine, 
Charles, dedans lequel ta file souveraine 
Miraculeusement tu feras transformer, 
Pour les faicts videux des humains reformer; 
Elle prendra son corps: 

* * 

Mon Charles, mon PrSlat, mon Laurier de Lorraine! 

When Destiny, in France, shall bring to birth 
The Second Henry, first of Kings in worth, 
Whom Heav'n with all its blessings shall befriend, 
Then Justice and her mates will redescend. 
That noble King will choose from out his race 
A Prince, all honor, goodness, learning, grace, 
In all mankind, of rivals hath he none; 
His Virtue shines as brightly as the sun, 
And in his face such majesty appears 
That Vice on seeing it succumbs to fears 
And flies afar, soon as it shall behold 
A Prince in years so young, in virtues old. 
His name shall be the Prelate of Lorraine, 
Charles Guise, and then the Virtue Sovereign, 
Justice herself, shall pass into his form, 
The vicious ways of mankind to reform, 
And his body metamorphosed be. 


Then, after bestowing deserved praise upon the Goddess Justice, 
the poet returns to her simulacrum, the Cardinal, and enumerates 
all that he can do, make war, make peace, greet strangers, raise 
money, quell danger, accomplish this, achieve that in short, "Tu 
dis tout, tu fats tout!" And then he tells how, when the Cardinal 
has leisure from public affairs, he turns to poetry. It is this trait 
in him that endears him most to Ronsard: 

Et tant que vivant je stray, 
Jamais je ne conjesseray 
Qu'en France la Muse perisse, 
Tant qu'elle aura pour souvcrain 
Un Charles Cardinal Lorrain, 
Qui la dtfendc ct la chcrisse. 

As long as I shall live oh, yes 
I swear I never will confess 
The Muse can die in France, 
While she shall have for sovereign 
Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine, 
To guard and lend her countenance. 

In these panegyrics Ronsard is not at his best as a poet, but the 
reader must remember that his fame and position at Court, a friend 
of kings and queens, was such that he addressed the Cardinal of 
Lorraine as equal to equal Not since Petrarch had any poet en- 
joyed so great a European reputation* Brant6me relates how once, 
when he was in Venice, he went into a workshop kept by a culti- 
vated and travelled gentleman and asked for a copy of Petrarch's 
poems. The Venetian, speaking now in Italian, now in pretty good 
French, said, "Why do you want Petrarch? You have twice as 
good a poet in France," and then went on to laud Ronsard to the 
skies. Brantome adds, "// avait raisonht was right/' And Agrippa 
d'Aubign6 among his earliest efforts at verse asserts that, listening 
to voices in all the four corners of the world, from the savage canni- 
bal to the far-off Scythian, he could hear no sound but Ronsard 1 


Ronsard! and shouts of praise. And King Charles IX, a cultivated 
young man in his way, is believed to have written the verses that 
assert that poetry ought to be esteemed above kingcraft, and a poet 
rank higher than a king, Ronsard higher than he, 

Je puts donner la mart, toi Vimmortalite 
I can give death, you give immortality. 

This high society, as you see, prized arts and letters, and as one 
gazes on Ronsard, Goujon, Clouet, the period almost seems to re- 
vive a Golden Age; but, as I have said, a dark shadow fell across 
it, and to that I must return. 



IN ANCIENT times men took their religion lightly; the Romans were 
a reasonable people and allowed everybody to worship what god 
he pleased, so long as that worship did not disturb the peace or 
violate the laws of the state. Rome was open-minded, and offered 
her hospitality to gods and goddesses from Asia Minor, Syria or 
Egypt, and granted them temples on the Esquiline hill, or the 
Coelian, or in the Forum. But Christianity brought in a very 
different kind of god "I the Lord thy God am a jealous god 
thou shalt have no other gods before me" and all hospitality to 
foreign gods was withdrawn. The popes, as vice-regents of God 
on earth, undertook to enforce this commandment, and succeeded 
in western Europe, so that for long centuries the principle of 
unity one faith, one sheepfold, one shepherd was pretty well fol- 
lowed. An elaborate organization, based upon that of the Roman 
Empire, of archbishoprics, bishoprics, parishes, held Latin Chris- 
tianity together. When the Renaissance came, it diverted the minds 
of men and took from the Church much intellectual interest and 
support, and the ancient ecclesiastical fabric suffered; in the Roman 
Curia plain living went quite out of fashion, and in the priesthood, 
and among the monks and friars, the standard of conduct adapted 
itself to human weaknesses. Things went so far that on all sides 
arose voices crying for reformation. All assented with their lips, 
but the prelates failed to generate the self-abnegation necessary 
to reform the Church, and others undertook to supply their defi- 

It turned out to be easier to break away than to reform. And 



in Germany the Lutherans did break away; they took up arms and 
fought Charles V until they forced him to agree to their separa- 
tion from Rome. England, under conditions peculiar to herself, 
also broke loose. In France, circumstances were very different; 
the people were Latin and there was no much-marrying Henry 
VIII, there were no Lutheran princes with independent principali- 
ties; the first reformers were kindly, sweet-tempered people who 
felt the charm of the Gospels and merely wanted the Church to 
follow the doctrines of the Sermon on the Mount. Of such were 
Marguerite of Navarre, Lefevre d'fitaples, Brig onnet. Others fol- 
lowed, less sweet-tempered, more truculent. The conservative 
classes, seated in comfort upon a social order, buttressed by the 
established religion, were shocked and horrified. The anarchical 
Lutheran proletarians, whom Claude de Guise cut to pieces at 
Neuf chateau, frightened them almost to death; they wished to 
stay, and they proposed to stay, in that social condition to which it 
had pleased God to call them. Persecution began; the Protestants 
retaliated with outrages. The great majority of Frenchmen, espe- 
cially in Paris, were staunchly Catholic, and public opinion de- 
manded stern punishments. Francois Premier, converted from his 
earlier sympathy, came to the same way of thinking: he said that 
"if his arm was infected with such corruption, he would cut it 
from his body, if his own children were so unfortunate as to fall 
into those accursed doctrines, he would cut them down as a 
sacrifice to God." Edict after edict against the reformers was 
issued; and, towards the close of his reign, sixty-one persons were 
arrested at Meaux; of these, fourteen men were condemned to 
torture and to be burned alive, one to be strung up by the shoulders 
while he witnessed the burning, then to be whipped and im- 
prisoned, others to be whipped, but the rest of them were let go. 
Such, was the state of things when Francois I died. 

His son, Henri II, was wholly uninterested in the intellectual 
side of the Reform, but, from early influences and the ardent 
sympathies of Diana, as well as the calmer sympathies of Cath- 


erine de Medicis, would, no doubt, had foreign politics given him 
leisure, have dealt rigorously with the heretics, but foreign politics 
prevented any sustained system of suppression. In his struggle 
with Philip of Spain, the King needed the aid of the Lutheran 
princes of Germany, and therefore had to regard their sensibilities. 
As a consequence, an infiltration of Lutheranism started groups of 
reformers here and there. Soon the time was ripe for a man of 
genius to appear; and he did, Calvin established a theocracy in the 
little republic of Geneva, based on certain fundamental dogmas: 
God is omnipotent; His creature, man, sinned, and all men are 
tainted by Adam's sin, and can be saved only by God's grace; 
works do not co-operate in the task of salvation; God has chosen 
His elect, from eternity; and Popery is of the Devil This ecclesi- 
astical state had a democratic organization; the congregation of a 
church elected elders and deacons, and they elected the minister. 
Safely ensconced just across the border, Calvin sent missionaries 
and tracts into France. The seed fell on fertile soil This poli- 
tico-theological fabric, based on a verbal acceptance of Holy Writ, 
erected by logic, and fortified by purity of life and upright conduct, 
exercised a strong influence over many serious people. At first it 
took hold of artisans and shopkeepers, then of lawyers, school- 
teachers and students, and gradually members of the gentry and 
the aristocracy. The sister of Mme d'fitampes was converted, and 
various distinguished artists, Jean Goujon the sculptor, Philibert 
Delorme the architect, Bernard Palissy the potter, Goudimel the 
musician. The Catholics regarded the movement as a disease, 
with poisonous microbes affecting the body politic, here and there, 
subtly and insidiously. 

In 1555 the Protestants of Paris organized themselves into a 
church, those in other cities followed their example; these scattered 
churches united, and in 1559, the year that Henry II was killed, 
a national Protestant Synod was held. Here was the beginning of 
what foresighted people could see would, if left unchecked, de- 
velop into an imperium in imperio. In the face of this growing 


revolt, the forces of conservatism acted with intermittent vigor. 
A few months after the death of Francois I, a new court. La 
chambre ardente, was established to exercise jurisdiction upon cases 
of heresy. The punishments sound horrible to us, but we must re- 
member that the punishments of the Criminal code were, if pos- 
sible, more horrible still. Common criminals convicted of slight 
offenses were scourged or had their ears cut off; convicted of 
serious offenses, they were torn with red-hot pincers, or cut into 
quarters; forgers were boiled alive, or tied in sacks and thrown into 
the river. Nobody doubted the beneficial effect of terror. Calvin 
agreed that heretics should be put to death Haereticos jure gladii 
coercendos esse. The Parlement de Paris, a very orthodox body, 
was of a like opinion, as for instance: 

''The Court condemns the said Robert le Lievre, called the 
Seraphin, as the principal wrongdoer, to be taken from the prisons 
of the said Conciergerie, and laid upon a sledge and dragged to 
the Place Maubert, and the said Thuillier, Mareschal, and Jean 
Camus (accomplices) each to be put on a tumbril in front of the 
said sledge, and taken to the said Place Maubert, where four 
gallows will be erected; of these gallows one shall be a foot higher 
than the others, on which the said le Lievre, called Seraphin, prin- 
cipal author of the crimes and offenses aforesaid, shall be fastened 
and on the other three gallows the said Thuillier, Mareschal and 
Jean le Camus shall be fastened, and round each of said gallows a 
great fire shall be lighted at that time, and the said prisoners shall 
be burned alive and their bodies consumed to ashes." 

The Huguenots a term of doubtful origin answered back as 
best they could, they blasphemed, they flouted the sacraments, but 
the offense that stirred popular hatred to madness was the mutila- 
tion of statues of the Virgin. No element in the Catholic cult was 
more tenderly associated with what men hold dear than the wor- 
ship of the Virgin, emblem of maidenhood with its appeal to 


man's chivalry, and of motherhood, the deepest of human rela- 
tions. This sentiment had reached its height, at least in mani- 
festation, in the building of the great cathedrals, Notre-Dame de 
Chartres, Notre-Dame de Paris, Notre-Dame de Reims, Notre- 
Dame d'^vreux, Notre-Dame de Rouen, Notre-Dame de Bayeux 
and so many others, God the Father was remote, and many an 
anxious heart must have been skeptical of His wisdom and good- 
ness in the creation of this world; God the Son was to act as 
Judge on the dreadful day of the Last Judgment, Dm irat; but 
Mary was always tender, always gracious, always compassionate, as 
loving as the most loving human mother, holding her arms out 
to the sinner and interceding for him. The Huguenots took a 
spirited delight in breaking her statues- They also smashed images 
of the saints "abus ct fallacy dc Satan" and they railed at Purga- 
tory, calling it "an illusion from the same shop from which also 
proceed monastic vows, pilgrimages, celibacy of the clergy, fast- 
ing, auricular confession and indulgences," 

But by the time of the death of Henri II the position of the 
Huguenots had changed greatly. Biblical texts had led to dogma, 
dogma to a church, a church to authority; and, when the Synod 
of 1559 had united the independent churches scattered all over 
France into one body, which took Geneva as its model, it became 
merely a question of time when the dissentient Ecclesiastical State 
should confront the National State and challenge its supremacy. 
This came when certain great nobles joined the Huguenot ranks- 
out of piety, out of ambition, out of feudal discontent, jealousy, 
envy and many-colored motives. 

The Catholics had been growing more and more apprehensive, 
but the war with Spain had kept the King from vigorous action. 
Now, signs on all sides began to make them feel that enemies at 
home were more dangerous than the Spaniards. During the nego- 
tiations for the treaty of Cateau-Cambresis, the Cardinal of Lor- 
raine went before the Parlement de Paris and stated that the King 
wanted peace at almost any price, "in order to have time and 


leisure to root out Calvin's heresy." And, accordingly, shortly 
after peace had been made, the King, accompanied by the Car- 
dinals of Lorraine and Guise and by the Constable, assisted at a 
session of the Parlement, and there, to their horror and dismay, 
they heard several members not only speak in favor of an oecu- 
menical council and lighter punishments for heretics, but also 
find fault with abuses in the Church, and deliver opinions worse 
than improper. The King ordered the arrest of the principal 
speakers (June 10, 1559), and in due course the worst offender, 
Anne de Bourg, was sentenced to be burned alive on the Place de 
Greve. On June 30 the King received his fatal wound. The King's 
last words, "May my people remain steadfast in the faith in which 
I die," were ominous. The suppression of heresy became the domi- 
nant political question. 


ON HIS father's death the Dauphin duly became King, as Fran- 
gois II. He was a lad of sickly body and ordinary mind, fifteen 
years old, and under the thumb of his beautiful young wife, who 
was a few months older in time and much older in development 
of mind and character "a great doer/' the English ambassador 
reported. The immediate question was, who should be chosen to 
carry on the government, for the King obviously lacked capacity 
and experience. 

If kinship was to determine the choice, Antoine de Bourbon, 
King of Navarre, first Prince of the Blood, had the best claim. 
The Bourbons play a great part in the story of the Guises, and I 
will make a slight digression to introduce them. Their province, 
the Bourbonnais, lies almost in the centre of France, just north of 
Auvergne. Its chief town is Moulins, and if you go into the 
sacristy of the church there, and tip liberally a grudging sacristan, 
he will unfold the wings of a triptych painted about 1497 by an 
unknown painter, a sort of Frenchified Fleming, known as the 
Maitre de Moulins. This picture depicts the Madonna in the 
centre; kneeling on one side is Pierre II, Due de Bourbon, and on 
the other are his wife, Anne de Beaujeu, daughter to Louis XI, and 
their little daughter Suzanne. This little girl married her cousin, 
the Constable Bourbon, the traitor. The Bourbons were very great 
people. The family history goes back to the ninth century. In the 
thirteenth a daughter of the house married the sixth son of Louis 
IX, Saint Louis, By failure of issue in other branches, Louis, Count 
of Vendome (died 1446) became head of the family, and from him 



the families of Conde, Conti and Montpensier were descended. 
The Constable's treason, if it was such, towards Francois Premier 
left the family under a cloud for a generation. But bygones be- 
came bygones, and Antoine de Bourbon married Jeanne d'Albret, 
daughter to Queen Marguerite of Navarre, the sister of Francois 
Premier. He had two brothers, the ineffectual Cardinal de Bour- 
bon and Louis, Prince de Conde, a man of diminutive body but 
great spirit. Had Antoine possessed a strong character, he could 
have played an important part in public affairs, but he was vain, 
weak and changeable, and nobody had any confidence in his steadi- 
ness or judgment. 

Then, in this choice of King's counsellor, there was the Con- 
stable, Anne de Montmorency. His great office, and his long ex- 
perience of public affairs, first under Francois Premier, and latterly 
under Henri II, under whom he had virtually been prime minister, 
gave him hopes that he would continue to direct the royal policy. 
And it is possible that if he and Antoine could have co-operated 
with one another they might have made good their claims to take 
a part, at least, in public affairs. But the Constable was a crusty 
old fellow, and Antoine was indignant because in negotiating the 
treaty of Cateau-Cambresis the Constable and his fellow commis- 
sioners had ignored his claim to Spanish Navarre. 

These two candidates, however, were promptly disposed of by 
the power behind the throne. The beautiful young Queen ruled 
her husband, and she was wholly under the influence of her two 
uncles, the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine. Like 
all the Guises, she had a strong family feeling, and she was fond 
of her handsome uncles, she trusted them, and they understood 
her. Scotland was alien to her, she was really a daughter of France, 
and a Guise, and, as a matter of course, called them to power. So 
when, according to custom, a deputation from the Parlement 
waited upon the new King to congratulate him and express their 
loyal feelings, he announced to them that his two uncles would 
have complete charge of everything, and he bade Parlement to 


obey them as it would obey himself. The Duke had command of 
the armies and the Cardinal of finance. The Cardinal was virtually 
Prime Minister. The Tuscan ambassador wrote home, "The Car- 
dinal of Lorraine is Pope and King in France," Probably the great 
majority of the King's subjects approved of the appointment of the 
Guises, "comme trh bkn leur appartcnalt pour en estre tr^s digncs 
et tr&s capabks!' And, indeed, there could be no hesitation- Fran- 
ois de Guise was the first soldier in France, and though for the 
time there was peace, who could say how long it would last? 
He was gracious, courteous and affable, and bore himself with a 
sort of magnificent simplicity- He probably had the same kind 
of charm and physical beauty that young Queen Mary, his niece, 
possessed; and the Cardinal, if not personally so richly endowed 
with graces, was a master of social arts, cultivated, quick-witted, 
immensely industrious and extremely able- 

Nevertheless the Constable did not give way without an attempt 
to retain his place. Immediately after the King was wounded he 
bade the Bourbons take the government; and on the King's death 
he hurried to the Louvre and counselled the Queen Mother to 
inspire her son with the best maxims of good government for his 
people; not to let him fall into a prejudice against any of his sub- 
jects, or listen to friends of inferior standards, rather have him so 
act that his conduct would be approved by the noblesse and the 
other orders of the realm, and that, therefore, he should not change 
the officers of state, or deprive any man of his position or dignity, 
and that she must remember that she was to govern a nation which 
readily obeyed its own Kings and Princes, but resented indignantly 
the domination of foreigners. Then he made a most humble 
obeisance and assured her of his inviolable attachment to the King 
and to herself. The Queen Mother must have smiled inwardly at 
the Constable's elephantine attempts at subtlety; she listened gra- 
ciously, made many flattering promises, some say she shed tears, 
but she bore in mind his former friendliness to Diane de Poitiers. 

However, quite apart from their obvious fitness, the Duke and 


the Cardinal were secure in the affections of their beautiful niece, 
and they were deferential to the Queen, and devoted themselves 
seriously to the business of the government. They endeared them- 
selves also to Catherine de Medicis by consenting to the dismissal 
of Diane de Poitiers, in spite of her being mother-in-law to their 
brother, the Due d'Aumale. There was nothing base or mean in 
this; it was a matter of course that on the death of a King his mis- 
tress should give up the jewels bestowed upon her by her royal 
lover, she could only hope for the use of them during his life. Diana 
was over sixty now, and retirement from an alien court could have 
been no hardship. She was rich, she retained the Chlteau of Anet, 
and was of a character sufficient unto itself. 

So the Guises assumed the government of France. The King was 
of legal age, but he had no taste for affairs. Excepting his beautiful 
wife, hunting was all he cared for, and he hunted more than was 
good for his health. The King and the Cardinal both treated the 
Queen Mother with great respect; she was invited to the councils 
of state, and the wording of public acts began, "It being the good 
pleasure of the Queen my Mother"; but whatever the glove, the 
hand was the hand of the Cardinal. The rule of the Guises, how- 
ever, was not popular with the noblesse. The noblesse regarded 
them, for they made much of their descent from Kings of Lorraine, 
as foreigners, and the Constable's relatives, his friends and fol- 
lowers were angry that he had been superseded; he had so long 
been a conspicuous figure in national life that, in spite of his slow 
mind, his irascible temper and his self-seeking, he had become a 
sort of institution, and many felt that to lose him from the govern- 
ment was like cutting down the mainmast. There were also the 
old-fashioned people who had an inordinate respect for the blood 
royal, and believed, as part of their patriotic creed, that Princes of 
the Blood should be at the head of the government so long as the 
King was too young and inexperienced to take control. There were 
also a great number of gentleman adventurers, old soldiers, persons 
who had found employment of one kind and another during the 


war with Spain, who now, having nothing to do, flocked to 
Fontainebleau to obtain the rewards of their faithful, loyal and 
arduous services, as ex-soldiers are wont to do. The Cardinal had 
a mind to balance the budget, and to do that expenses must be 
cut, so he said it was impossible to provide for these worthies, and, 
upon their persistence, showed his spirit quite different from 
democratic politicians by erecting a gibbet and issuing a state- 
ment that it would be put to use, if his orders continued to be 
disobeyed, Brantome says: "It was twice proclaimed throughout 
the court, to the sound of trumpets, that all captains, soldiers, 
military men or others, who had come to ask for money or re- 
wards, must take themselves away, upon pain of death," and an 
explanation was given that the State was greatly in debt, to the 
Venetians, to the Swiss, to private bankers and so on. Brantome 
comments: "Soldiers are always like that; for a little bullet wound, 
or a slight service rendered, they think the King should dish out 
gold in shovelfuls. I have seen very many like that, becoming 
malcontent, assert their valiancy, swearing, cursing, and alleging 
their services, in short making an elephant out of a fly. That is 
why the importunity of these fellows angered the King, his finan- 
cial advisers, and all the court." 

Then he adds, "but the Due de Guise showed himself more 
considerate to the soldiers, for he knew their ways. And when 
they came to court he was very gracious, even to the least of them 
(as I have seen), and I remember to have seen many come, who 
knew nothing of the proclamation, and, whether they did or 
not, he would whisper in their ear, 'Better go away now for a 
time, my friend. Haven't you heard of the proclamation? Go 
away. The King is very poor just now. But be sure that when the 
sky is clear again, and occasion presents itself, I shan't forget you. 
HI send for you.'" 

But in spite of the Duke's tact this bold ordinance raised up 
many enemies to the Cardinal. Young musketeers, Athoses, 
Porthoses, and Aramises, eager to enjoy life, and angry to have the 


wars end, vowed vengeance. Besides, in the background, there 
were the Huguenot churches, constituting themselves into what 
inevitably became a political body; they took an attitude some- 
what similar to that of our southern states before the Civil War, 
that they must keep and maintain their peculiar institution, and if 
thwarted they would secede, or at least have a separate government 
of their own. All these elements, animated by their several motives, 
were opposed to the Guises, whom they always stigmatized as for- 
eigners, in spite of the fact that their mother was a Bourbon, that 
they had as much royal French blood in their veins as the King of 
Navarre, and that their father had been a naturalized Frenchman, 
and that Francois de Guise had married the granddaughter of King 
Louis XIL They accused the Guises of battening on the land, al- 
though the House of Montmorency had battened still more, and all 
nobles battened as much as they could. On the side of the Guises 
were the King, the young Queen, the Queen Mother, the Church, 
most of the noblesse de la robe, and the great majority of law- 
abiding people, who were faithful Catholics, and thought very ill 
of the Huguenots, as rebellious, immoral and brutal. This antag- 
onism between the Guisards and the anti-Guisards broke out in 
the beginning of February, 1560. 

The King's health was poor, and as medical opinion declared 
that the air at Blois, in Touraine (which province Rabelais calls 
the Garden of France), would be beneficial, the Court went there; 
and the King was pleased because there were great forests round 
about, delightful to hunt in. The malcontents chose this time to 
hatch a plot against the Guises. Most of the plotters were Hugue- 
nots, but the passion that caused the fire came mainly from dis- 
gruntled adventurers. Of these the most conspicuous was Godefroy 
de Barry, de la Renaudie, a gentleman of Perigord. I borrow from 
Mr. Ralph Roeder two judgments upon him, in order to show 
the difference between Calvin's and the Duke's Christianity, for 
the test of Christianity lies in thinking no evil. Calvin said he was 
"a man full of vanity and presumption, empty-bellied, roaming 


everywhere for prey, an impudent liar, in search of money to 
extort and friendships to exploit." The Duke said he was "a man 
of handsome life and good company and great intelligence, but 
who has always been ill employed and who lacks judgment." This 
man, when engaged in a lawsuit, had forged certain documents, 
and, being detected, had been condemned to pay a large fine, and 
banished for a time. In Switzerland he became a Protestant. On 
his return to France, he plunged into a conspiracy against the 
Guises. It is said that he had a private grudge against them. He 
got together a great meeting of the malcontents at Nantes, which 
posed as a sort of States-General, representing the nation, and 
unfolded to them his plan. They should arm themselves (in spite 
of a royal edict to the contrary), separate in little bands, and con- 
verge upon Blois; some in civilian dress should enter the town and 
be ready to open the gates, and when the town was in their hands 
they would remove the Guises and present a petition of grievances 
to the King. He announced that there was a chief in high place 
who, upon success, would put himself at their head. This mysteri- 
ous person was the Prince de Conde, and, though the facts are 
doubtful, it seems highly probable that he knew of the plot and 
sympathized with it, but would join it no further than by a 
promise to reap the benefit when it was a success. La Renaudie 
wanted to strengthen his cause with the name, hinted at, if not 
spoken out, of a Prince of the Blood. 

There can be no doubt that the conspirators meant to kill the 
Due de Guise and his brother the Cardinal But rumours of these 
doings got abroad. Warning came from Germany and elsewhere, 
and finally a Parisian lawyer, a Protestant, to whom the plot had 
been confided, being troubled in conscience, went and told the 
Cardinal. When definite news came, the Court had already left 
Blois and was on its way towards Amboise. As that was a well- 
walled town with a stout castle, the Court stopped there and took 
counsel On the advice of the Due de Guise, the Queen Mother 
invited Coligny and his brothers to join them, probably for the 


sake of securing them as hostages. The Prince de Conde came, 
too. Coligny advised conciliation towards the Huguenots, amnesty 
for the past, freedom of worship and the convocation of an Eccle- 
siastical Council, His advice was adopted in part, and an edict 
issued, granting pardon to those who would live as good Catholics 
in the future, but excepting conspirators and mischief-makers. 
The Due de Guise appointed the Prince de Conde warder of one 
of the castle gates, but took care to give him the young Guise, the 
Grand Prieur, as lieutenant, and surround him with his own men. 
The conspirators were disarranged in their plans by the Court's 
removal from Blois to Amboise, and from that time everything 
went wrong with them. Traitors revealed their movements; a 
band of them was captured in a fortified house; an attack on the 
castle was repulsed; La Renaudie was killed. The Duke's cavalry 
scattered the assembling forces, and the peasants fell upon the 
stragglers. Many were killed on the spot, many were drowned and 
many were hanged from the windows and battlements of the castle. 
The punishments were cruel, but it is plain that there was general 
terror. A King, young or old, does not like to be kidnapped; nor 
does a young Queen, from a foreign land, like to have her uncles 
murdered; nor does a Queen Mother like to have her son kid- 
napped, and his chief ministers murdered; and the conspirators' 
declared purpose to do away with foreigners might be stretched 
to apply to an Italian, or a Scotch, woman, as well as to descendants 
of the House of Lorraine. The conspirators talked very piously 
under examination, they meant no harm to the King's person, 
merely to remove his unworthy servants. But they were rebels 
with arms in their hands, and many of them were discarded 
soldiers, adventurers or ruffians sharked up all over France; and a 
mingling of devout Huguenots could not alter the fact that such 
men, in success, do not waste time on law, order, or niceties of 
obedience and ceremony. The King's letter to Anne de Mont- 
morency probably gives an accurate account of his view of the 


"This abominable treason aimed at the subversion of the State. 
If that had happened, We, our very honored Lady and Mother, 
our dear and beloved companion the Queen, our brother, and 
princes who have the chief management of our affairs would 
have been snuffed out (estainctz), or, at least, reduced to such a 
state that the royal authority would be degraded and at the mercy 
of a subject." 

Accused persons, under examination, have a tendency to see 
their frustrated purposes in a crepuscular softness of outline, and 
these conspirators asserted that their intentions befitted sucking 
doves. Some prisoners, during torture, implicated the Prince de 
Conde. His coffers were searched, but nothing compromising was 
found. He demanded to be heard. In presence of all the Court, he 
declared that if any man dared to charge him with disloyalty, or 
with tempting the King's subjects to commit any crime against 
the person of the King, he would lay his rank aside and challenge 
him to personal combat. At this the Due de Guise stepped forward 
and exclaimed that the Prince was right to be offended, and said 
that he could have no greater pleasure than to act as the Prince's 
second. Conde thanked him and thanked the Cardinal. There 
can be no doubt, however, that Cond was privy to the plot. The 
motives of the Guises m accepting Cond6's denial can only be 
guessed at; perhaps they thought it unwise to attack a Prince of 
the Blood, or that the evidence was insufficient to satisfy the public, 
or they may have hoped that now he would acquiesce in their 
rule; perhaps they were magnanimous, or they may have been 
satisfied with their success they had saved the King from con- 
straint by Huguenot rebels, perhaps they had saved the Kingdom 
from dismemberment. Catholics were full of praise and gratitude, 
and the Parlement de Paris acted as the public mouthpiece in de- 
creeing to the Due de Guise the title Sat/tour of the Country. 

But in those days a man could not save his country without 
danger. One of the conspirators executed by the Duke's orders 

French Renaissance Sculpture: A Nymph by Jean Goujon 


was a Seigneur de Castelnau of Bigorre, and a nephew of his, 
Captain Bonnegarde, an acquaintance of Brantome, who says he 
was a very gallant soldier, vowed vengeance. Some three years 
afterwards he appeared at Court in the train of the Prince de Conde, 
and boasted on several occasions that he would kill M. de Guise. 
The Duke heard of this, and, without further evidence of interest, 
asked to have Bonnegarde pointed out to him. He looked and 
merely remarked, "That man will never kill me-" At Saint- 
Germain, a few days later, he had Bonnegarde watched to see when 
he and a friend of his should be walking in the park. He did not 
have long to wait. His servant told him that the two gentlemen 
were in the park. "The Duke took with him young La Brosse, a 
very valiant gentleman, son to M. de La Brosse [I am quoting 
Brantome], a truly honorable Knight, and the two, without 
other escort, neither page, nor lackey, followed the others. They 
came up with them after they had made their turn and were on 
their way back. M. de Guise said, 'Here are our men. Don't make 
any hostile move, unless I do/ And therewith he walked straight 
towards them, with an assured look that showed that he was ready 
to kill. It was M. Bonnegarde and his companion that stepped 
back and made room for M. de Guise to pass. They stood to one 
side, took off their bonnets, and bowed to him most respectfully. 
M. de Guise stopped a moment, then went on to the turn, making 
his little promenade after the others, without betraying the slight- 
est emotion, or saying anything except, 'We have done it well, La 
Brosse; my friend will not kill me; he is more respectful and polite 
than they reported. But I swear to you that if he had not taken 
off his hat I would have killed him dead, while you were killing 
your man. In such matters, one must proceed prudently; they 
have showed themselves, and they will never kill us." When the 
Prince de Conde heard of the incident, he said that the Duke's 
behaviour was admirable, and made all possible excuses to M. de 
Guise, saying that the Duke had been given wrong information. 
All M. 4e Guise said was, "When that rascal wants to, he can find 


me at any time." Some were amazed that M. de Guise did not 
kill him; but he answered that he felt better revenged by this 
humble satisfaction than if he had killed him. 

A man's nerves received careful training in those times. That 
was the end of M. de Bonnegarde's vengeance for the death of his 
uncle; but the Conspiracy of Amboise, a plot that must be charged 
to the Huguenots 5 account, was the beginning of thirty years and 
more of bloody contention. 


THE Conspiracy of Amboise stands out like a great rock to mark 
the beginning of a long stretch of forty years of destruction and 
desolation. Many motives animated the widespread groups of 
conspirators, one of the strongest being jealousy of the Guises, of 
their abilities, of their success, the Duke crowned with the laurels 
of Metz and Calais, the Cardinal seemingly on the road to the 
Tiara of their charm, of their beauty (for, as a lady said, the 
Guises make everybody else look like plebeians). There was 
jealousy, too, of their popularity; for they had numerous partisans, 
who admired them extravagantly. I quote Ronsard again: 

Allez, Lauriers, cnvironner les t&tes 
Des deux Lorrains y a I'un pour son sgavoir 
Comme h Mercure, a Vautre pour avoix, 
Ainsi que Mars, tant gagn& de conquetes. 

Go, Laurels, hang in garlands on the brow 
Of the two Lorrains, one for learning 
The peer of Mercury in his discerning, 
The other for his victories, like Mars, I trow. 

But apart from the rivalries between the Connfrablistes and the 
Guisards, apart from the malcontents and the adventurers, it be- 
came clear that the dissatisfactions and ambitions of the Huguenots 
were the fundamental causes of the Conspiracy, and that, there- 
fore, the religious question was of most pressing urgency. Chris- 
tendom was rent in pieces. Great principalities in Germany had 
broken away from the Papacy; England, Sweden, Norway, Den- 



mark, had undone the ancient knots of the common faith, and 
now the problem of secession in France thrust itself before the 
King's ministers. Should they repress heresy by main force, and 
crush it, as the Spaniards had done, or should they recognize its 
right to exist, to thrive, to grow, until, as in Germany, the King- 
dom should be divided into hostile camps ? Harsh measures had 
been tried; so far they had not succeeded. Punishment had roused 
anger and desire for vengeance, it had welded the Huguenots to- 
gether and made of them a political body to which all disgruntled 
men rallied, all who wished to fish in muddy waters, all who 
hoped to benefit by new things. But the idea of religious toleration, 
familiar to the Romans and to us, was alien to the masses on both 
sides, and it was very difficult to know what was the wise course 
to pursue. 

The citizens of Paris were particularly intolerant of the re- 
formers. Regnier de la Planche, a Huguenot of plentiful prejudices 
himself, says: "The Parisian populace showed itself most venom- 
ously angry with the evangelicals. That populace is composed of 
people from everywhere, of insubordinate disposition, and the 
theologians of the Sorbonne, together with the monks, stirred them 
up by their sermons and inflamed them against the Reformed doc- 
trine, saying that these sectaries were godless people who had no 
religion, and charging them with all sorts of crimes. This put the 
populace in such a fury against the evangelicals that many among 
them at an execution would push the public executioners aside, in 
order to torture the victims more terribly. , . . And they invented 
various ways to detect who were evangelical Besides their usual 
habit of assaulting those who did not kneel when priests carried 
the Host through the streets, they set up images of the Virgin 
Mary on street corners . . . and if a passer-by did not take off his 
hat, he was immediately attacked by men in ambush from the 
neighboring houses. They also put up little boxes to contain coins 
for buying candles and lights, and obliged the passer-by to con- 
tribute, and if he made the slightest objection they cudgelled him. 


And they went about collecting money for such services, and to 
pay for prosecuting Lutherans; and any refusal, or hesitation, led 
to murder and pillage." The people of Paris were not alone in 
their violent hatred of the innovators, and statesmen had to take 
this very widespread indignation into account. The hatred of the 
populace naturally aroused the counter hatred of the Huguenots, 
and insults and angry words flew to and fro. As a sample of Hu- 
guenot invective, I cite a Letter to the Tiger of France^ which 
denounced the Cardinal of Lorraine: 

"Mad Tiger, venomous Viper, Sepulchre of abomination! . . . How 
long will you abuse the King's youth? Will you never put an end 
to your boundless ambition, to your impostures and your thefts ? 
Detestable monster! Everybody knows you, everybody sees 
through you, and yet you still live. . . . Release us from your 
tyranny! Avoid the executioner's sword! Get out!" 

Many such letters followed. The Cardinal merely replied, "Cal- 
umny is lame, and limps along, and in the end causes more shame 
to its authors than it does hurt to those to whom it is addressed." 
His partisans comforted him by praising him and his brothers to 
the skies "Two powerful props accorded by Providence to our 
Kingdom" and hurled back the insults with vigor. It is difficult 
to ascertain how much the Constable and the Bourbons excited 
this hatred of the Guises; and also to understand why the charge 
that they were foreigners was made so violently. The Guises 
were really as much Frenchmen, as loyal to France in their hearts 
as any one, certainly as much so as the Bourbons for Antoine's 
first desire was for his Kingdom of Navarre, and Conde was 
willing to divide France in halves between Catholics and Hugue- 
nots or as Montmorency, who was all-absorbed in his own resti- 
tution to power* 

This antagonism added to the difficulties of government, for the 
first business of a government is to keep itself in power. But the 


Guises confronted the situation with an open mind, and decided 
to try a policy of gentleness towards the Huguenots. They ap- 
pointed Michel FHopital, a just, temperate, gentle-hearted, upright 
man, who has been likened to Sir Thomas More, as Chancellor. 
They had long known his qualities, and had recommended him to 
Henri II for the office of Maitre des requetes, a judicial position, 
and again for membership in the royal Council. And he, an 
honorable man, as all agree, greatly admired the Guises, as his 
Latin verses still attest, so much so that unsympathetic persons 
were displeased with his appointment on the ground that he was 
too much a friend of the Cardinal. The Guises, also, for they 
were in power, must have the credit of the Edict of Romorantin 
(May, 1560), which has the reputation of leniency and wisdom; it 
transferred the trial of heresy from the lay judges to the bishops, 
and conferred jurisdiction of the offenses of unlawful assemblies 
and conventicles upon the judges, thus preventing laymen from a 
consideration of a theological matter, and prejudiced churchmen 
from that of statutory offenses. And they consented to a meeting 
of Notables, where their policies should be discussed. 

This meeting was held at the Palace of Fontainebleau on August 
20, 1560. At the opening, before the regular business was taken up, 
Admiral Coligny went to the King with a petition in his hand, and 
said that on a recent trip to Normandy he had inquired with par- 
ticularity as to the cause of the troubles and hard feelings there, 
and he had learned that there was no ill will towards the King or 
towards the Kingdom, but that the greatest source of discontent 
proceeded from the extreme persecution of the Reformed religion, 
although there had never been a judicial investigation and judg- 
ment upon it. That members of the Reformed party offered to 
prove that their doctrines and ceremonies were in entire conformity 
with those of the Holy Scriptures and the traditions of the 
Primitive Church. He believed, he said, he was doing what would 
be agreeable to His Majesty in taking their request and promising 
to present it, so that His Majesty might consider, together with 


his Council in this notable assembly, what steps should be taken 
to restore quiet to the Kingdom. Such a petition, he knew, ought 
to be signed, but that could not be done till permission was granted 
to assemble, nevertheless the petitioners had assured him they 
could obtain fifty thousand signatures in Normandy alone. 

His Majesty graciously received the petition, saying that he had 
such ample testimony of the Admiral's loyalty that he was sure zeal 
for the crown was his only motive. Thereupon he ordered the 
petition read. It stated that the petitioners were faithful Christians 
scattered over the Kingdom, they acknowledged the King as their 
Sovereign Lord appointed by God to reign over them, and were 
loyal subjects ready to pay the subsidies and taxes that it might 
please His Majesty to impose upon them, if what he ordinarily 
took was not enough. But, in like manner as the Holy Scriptures 
commanded them to bear the yoke of their kings in all obedience, 
so they were taught by God to render service and worship to Him 
without adding to, or detracting from, His Word, and not to con- 
sent to anything contrary to it. And in this respect, since they were 
not free to assemble and receive heavenly nourishment in public, 
they had been obliged to do so in secret and by night. And for 
that reason many calumnies had been put upon them; and, to 
avoid that, they humbly besought His Majesty to let them have 
chapels where they could preach the pure word of God and ad- 
minister His Holy Sacrament, and begged him also to appoint 
commissioners to make a report on their lives and conduct. 

By presenting this petition the Admiral declared that he made 
common cause with the Huguenots, and defied the Guises. His 
motives are not clear, probably they were mixed. He, his brothers, 
Cardinal de Chatillon (who wished to marry) and d'Andelot, and 
their half-sister Mme de Roye, were in sympathy with the new 
doctrines, but it is hard to believe that those sympathies were not 
powerfully quickened by jealousy and envy; of the Guises. At any 
rate, when he sat down there was much whispering at his boldness. 
Nothing happened. The Chancellor arose and stated the reasons 


for the meeting; then the Due de Guise made a report on military 
matters, and the Cardinal on finance, stating that expenses ex- 
ceeded income by 2,500,000 livres. And then, in order that no 
unconsidered words should be said or action taken, an adjournment 
of three days was had. On reassembling, eminent prelates, by the 
King's request, set forth their views upon the situation. After this 
the Admiral got up again, praised what had been said, and added 
that there was another matter more important than any, and that 
was the addition of new guards (which he knew had been done 
by the Due de Guise) about the King's person. They ought not to 
be there, they only gave occasion to disorder, cost a great deal of 
money, and rendered the King's subjects suspicious and fearful, 
whereas the fact was that the people bore no ill will to His 
Majesty but only to his ministers. 

At that the Due de Guise got up, and, according to Regnier de la 
Planche (always very unjust to the Guises), showed so much 
passion against the Admiral that, instead of giving a considered 
opinion to the King, he did nothing but contradict what the 
Admiral had said. It was not the subjects' business, he vociferated, 
to instruct their King, especially as everybody knew that he was a 
most accomplished Prince. And if the King stood in need of 
advice, there was the Queen Mother, with the very best wisdom, 
to advise him. And as to the Admiral's assertion that the Hugue- 
not petitioners could obtain fifty thousand signatures, or more, the 
King for his party could get a million. As for the new guards, 
the Duke had never thought of such a thing until the Con- 
spiracy of Amboise, when the King's subjects took up arms against 
him, and he then decided that not again should the King be 
petitioned by subjects with arms in their hands. Besides, it was 
idle to say that they had not risen against their King, but against 
the ministers, for neither he nor his brother had ever offended 
anyone with respect to their private affairs, or given any private 
person cause for dislike. Even if the conspirators had acted because 
of some discontent with the administration of affairs, nevertheless 


to take up arms against the ministers was really to take arms 
directly against the King. And he added (significantly) no reasons 
had since appeared why the new guards should be dismissed. As 
to the question of religion, he left that to men more learned in 
theology than he was. But for himself, no Councils could change 
his mind, or turn him from the ancient worship of his ancestors, 
particularly as to the holy sacraments. As for summoning the 
States-General, that was a matter for His Majesty to decide. 

Regnier de la Planche says that the Duke spoke with great 
passion and manifested his hate of the Admiral; a feeling that was 
cordially reciprocated. The Duke habitually showed so much 
calmness and self-control that it seems highly likely that Regnier 
de la Planche's statement was colored by his Huguenot prejudices; 
but he was perfectly right in his conclusion that the Admiral and 
the Duke stood forth, henceforward, not merely as champions of 
their respective causes but also as bitter personal enemies. After 
the Duke had finished, the Cardinal de Lorraine got up and 
spoke quietly and without passion. The petitioners, he said, were 
far from being loyal and obedient; they alleged that they were, 
but it was plain that they would be loyal and obedient only upon 
condition that the King did what they wanted. As to granting 
them chapels, that would be to approve of heresy, and the King 
could not do that without danger of eternal damnation. He 
doubted the value of another theological Council; it could only 
reassert what many Councils had asserted before. As to the pious 
zeal of the petitioners, it was easy to estimate that by the defamatory 
libels they issued every day; there were twenty-two such, aimed at 
him, now lying on his table. And he regarded the reprobation of 
such evil men as a great honor, and a eulogy upon his life that 
would render him immortal. His conclusion was that the sedi- 
tious, especially those who took up arms, should be severely 
punished; but as to those who, out of fear of damnation, did not 
go to Mass, but instead went, unarmed, to hear preaching, sing 
psalms and such, since punishment had so far done no good, he 


advised that no more punishments should be inflicted, and, for 
his part, he was very sorry that there had been such harsh exe- 
cutions. He only wished that his life or death might be of help to 
these poor errant wanderers. And he ended by advising the con- 
vocation of the States-General, Regnier de la Planche makes the 
marginal comments, "Crocodile tears," "Enemy of truth," etc. It 
was hardly possible for anyone to be just, fair or reasonable. 

The Admiral's defiance of the Due de Guise was like flinging 
down a glove; it meant that he and his party were ready for battle. 
In Normandy the Protestants still talked loyalty, but in the south 
they had abandoned all pretense, they sacked churches, they de- 
stroyed statues, they fought the King's troops. The Prince de 
Conde most certainly supported them in rebellion. His brother 
Antoine plotted to seize the city of Lyons, then he became afraid, 
hesitated, drew back, and stood shilly-shallying, facing both ways, 
undecided what to do. Catherine de MMicis, in alarm, wrote to 
Philip of Spain for help. The Guises were confronted by actual 
civil war and were forced to act. A command was sent to the 
King of Navarre to come to court and bring the Prince de Conde, 
with the warning that if they did not come voluntarily the King 
knew how to make himself obeyed. 

The Bourbons dared not disobey. They went slowly and reluc- 
tantly to Orleans where the States-General were to meet. Reports 
of what happened are uncertain. Regnier de La Planche says, in 
substance: When the Princes entered the city and approached the 
palace where the King lodged, Antoine, according to the privilege 
of Princes of the Blood, wished to ride into the courtyard. He was 
unceremoniously told that the great door would not be opened 
and that he must enter by the wicket. Accompanied by their 
brother the Cardinal de Bourbon and their cousin the Prince de la 
Roche-sur-Yon, they went into the King's presence, and found 
him attended by the Guises and many of the nobility. No one 
moved forward to greet them. They advanced and made their 
obeisance to the King, and met with a chilling reception. The 


King led them into his mother's apartment, but the Guises did not 
enter. The Queen Mother, according to La Planche, shed crocodile 
tears, and the King upbraided Conde, stated that he had been told 
that the Prince had entered into various enterprises against him 
and the Kingdom, and he therefore wished to hear the truth from 
his own mouth. 

The Prince had no lack of courage, and defended himself with 
vigor; he vowed that the accusations were calumnies invented by 
his enemies the Guises, whom he charged with all sorts of crimes, 
and gave the reasons why they slandered him to His Majesty. 
Nevertheless, the King ordered the captain of his guard to arrest 
him. The Prince was then conveyed into a house strongly lo^ied 
and guarded, with no company other than his valet. Antoine was 
left nominally at large, but under constant surveillance. He was 
greatly frightened and went about, hat in hand, begging the 
Cardinal of Lorraine to save his brother's life, and demanding 
heavy punshiment against the other rebels. But Conde, behind his 
grilled window, shouted out loud, to guards, soldiers, anyone 
within hearing, his hatred of the Guises. A special tribunal was 
appointed. The charges against him were of a wide range to 
seize Poitiers, Tours, Orleans, Lyons, then to march on the Court, 
arrest the Guises for high treason, and take the government into 
his own hands, and so on. The evidence left no doubt of his 
guilt, and the Prince was condemned to death. The sentence was 
set for December 10. 

Then Fate intervened. The King fell ill, his frail body gave way 
under too violent exercises. One day, just before starting on a hunt, 
he fainted in church. He grew worse. He was very ill, and death 
drew near. The Guises ordered masses, and prayers, and proces- 
sions, but these availed no more than medicine. Their power, per- 
haps their lives, depended upon his life. The Heir Apparent, his 
brother Charles, was but ten years old and would be wholly under 
his mother's control, and who could read Catherine de Medicis's 
character? She had developed rapidly since her husband's death; 


she desired power, and to put her Medicean gifts of tact, diplomacy, 
duplicity and intrigue to use. 

While the poor young King lay dying, a drama of ambitions 
was played about his bed. The Constable, delighted at the prospect 
of the fall of the Guises, started for Orleans in order to take ad- 
vantage of the situation, but lost courage, feigned illness and with- 
drew. Catherine, whatever her grief for her son, was soon absorbed 
in the excitement of securing the regency. The popular feeling 
that the Princes of the Blood should direct the government during 
a minority was very strong, and the Salic law, by its implication of 
the uafitness of women to rule, supported that view; on the other 
hand, there was a strong precedent in her favor, Blanche of Castile 
had been regent during the minority of Saint Louis. Besides, the 
States-General was about to meet, and who could tell what they 
would do? They had not met for eighty years, and at their last 
meeting strange words had been uttered about the sovereignty of 
the people. Evidently the question of the regency must be decided 
before the King should die. The Guises were well aware that they 
would be far safer with Catherine, whom they had always treated 
with respect, as regent, than under Antoine de Bourbon. 

On December 2, Catherine summoned the latter to her room; 
the two Guises and some other members of the Council were 
present. As Antoine was about to enter, a lady whispered that 
he had better consent or all was up with him. The Queen up- 
braided and warned him, the Bourbon plots were well known, 
his complicity indubitable, but there lay before him one way of 
escape: he should renounce whatever claim he might have to the 
regency and acquiesce in her right to the office, and then he would 
be rewarded with the office of Lieutenant-General, and nothing 
would be done without the approval of the Princes of the Blood. 
The pact was made; and the Queen explained to him that it was 
not the Guises, but the King himself, who had set on foot the 
prosecution of the Prince de Cond6. Antoine accepted the expla- 


nation; he and the Guises embraced, agreed to forget the past and 
be fast friends for the future. 

Three days later the poor little King lay dead. Malice alleged 
that the Queen Mother "was blyeth of the death of King Francis 
hir sone, because she had no guiding of him." Theodore de Beze, 
the Protestant divine, cried exultingly, "Behold the Lord our God 
has awakened and removed that boy!" Coligny said, "The King is 
dead, this means life to us." And, on going to his apartment, he 
sat with a toothpick in his mouth as was his custom, and, stretching 
his feet towards the fire, fell into a profound reverie and did not 
notice that his boots were scorching. His gentleman-in-waiting, 
suddenly perceiving they were all but on fire, shook him by the 
arm, and cried, "Sir, you are dreaming too much, your boots are 
burning, don't do it." "Ah, Fontaines," the Admiral answered, 
"not a week ago you and I would have been glad to get out of this 
at the price of a leg, and today we get out for a pair of boots. It's 
a good bargain." All the Huguenots were overjoyed. Pasquinades 
flew about: "O Cardinal of Lorraine! O Lucifer! how art thou 
fallen from Heaven," "O Duke, take up thy bed and walk!" etc. 
It was true enough, by the boy's death the Guises had lost the 
government of France. Conde was saved. 



CHARLES IX was a child of ten, wholly in his mother's control. To 
make assurance of his docility doubly sure, she slept in his room. 
Catherine de M^dicis had been starving for power, for opportunity 
to use her talents in diplomacy, intrigue and duplicity, and now she 
had room and to spare. The States-General had accomplished 
nothing. Troubles multiplied, the Huguenots were gaining in 
numbers and power all the time. Most of the gentry of the south 
and west, and many nobles of great estate, had joined them. With 
their growth in power and numbers their self-assertion increased, 
and also the dislike and fear of them. Riots and conflicts took 
place almost all over France. In Paris, always strongly Catholic, 
la mile sangumaire et meutri^re entre toutcs ccllcs du monde (as 
Theodore de Beze called her), when the Huguenots attempted to 
hold one of their psalm-singing conventicles in the Pr^-aux-clercs, 
the Catholic students of the Latin Quarter broke in upon them and 
chased them away. Huguenots were then comparatively numerous 
in that part of the city from the Tour de Nesle to the Rue de 
Vaugirard, and they were not disposed to follow the injunction of 
turning the other cheek. A report went about that a band of 
Catholic children was going, in spite of prohibitions, to march 
through the streets of that quarter of the town on Corpus Christi, 
carrying crucifixes and holy images, and that the Huguenots meant 
to stop them. The Court, in great alarm, sent messengers flying 
on one another's heels to fetch the Parisian idol, the Due de Guise, 
to come and prevent a riot. The Duke, aggrieved at Catherine's 
policy of friendliness to the Huguenots, answered curtly, "If it 



were any other matter, I would not go; but since it concerns the 
honor of God, I will And if it happens that I am killed, I could 
not die better." He rode posthaste to his hotel in the city, to the 
great joy of the Catholic citizens. Crowds of gentlemen hurried 
to join him. He dressed himself in doublet and hose of crimson 
satin crimson was his favorite color threw a cloak of black vel- 
vet over his shoulders, donned a bonnet of the same with a red 
feather, fastened a dagger in his belt and a sword at his side, 
mounted his handsome jennet, by name Le Moret, caparisoned 
with black velvet housing embroidered with silver, and, accom- 
panied by three or four hundred gentlemen, rode through the 
town, amid the cheers of the populace, to the Abbey of Saint- 
Germain where the King was lodged. The Huguenots were over- 
awed, and the procession of children was not disturbed. 

Elsewhere there was greater trouble. At Beauvais the Cardinal 
de Chatillon, though much beloved by the people of his bishopric, 
ran the risk of his life because, instead of celebrating Mass on 
Easter Day in the cathedral dedicated to St. Peter, as his predeces- 
sors had done, he had it celebrated in the chapel of his palace by a 
Reformed minister. The Cardinal was present and took com- 
munion with bread and wine, as did his household and some 
citizens of the towns. News of this got abroad quickly and spread 
through the city. The lowest orders of society were so excited 
and scandalized that some young men, especially those that earned 
their livelihood in the woolen trade, and were not at work now on 
account of the holidays, marched about the town and broke into 
several houses. One of these houses belonged to a priest who was 
suspected of teaching children the prayers and catechism of the 
new religion. These rowdies dragged him out of his house, killed 
him and dragged his body to the city square (where executions 
were held), with the intention of burning it. On hearing the tu- 
mult the sheriff ran out, forbade the murderers to proceed as if 
they were usurping his jurisdiction, took possession of the body 
and, with the applause of the maddened populace, burned it as if 


there had been a judicial sentence. A number of people, excited by 
this spectacle, surrounded the Episcopal Palace which had, for 
some time, been fortified with towers and stout walls against just 
such uprisings. They clamored to see their Bishop. When he 
appeared at a window, clad in his Cardinal's robes, their fury 
subsided, and the coming of night dispersed them. The next day 
the nobles of the neighborhood arrived in the city, and their 
presence restored peace and order (De Thou). 

It was very similar in other Catholic cities; but in the south, 
where the Huguenots had the upper hand, they gave tit for tat. 
They murdered priests, and sacked churches. They continued to 
make proselytes everywhere, even at Court. The Princess de Conde, 
the Duchess of Ferrara (the Due de Guise's mother-in-law) and 
Admiral Coligny held Protestant services in their apartments, at 
which a Genevan minister officiated. The orthodox Catholic chiefs 
became greatly alarmed; all that they held sacred, all they cared 
for most, all that their patriotism, their honor, their eternal salva- 
tion, called on them to defend, was in peril Fear made strange 
bedfellows. The old Constable, the Due de Guise and the Mar&hal 
de Saint-Andre laid aside rivalries and animosities, and took 
counsel together to see what could be done. These orthodox three 
became so close and powerful that their union was called the 
Triumvirate (April, 1561), and all sorts of rumours as to what 
they planned to do flew about. It was asserted that they had a 
secret pact, that they had invited King Philip of Spain to be their 
head, that they meant to force the King of Navarre, the turncoat, 
to become orthodox. First they were going to dangle before his 
eyes the hope of recovering his lost Spanish provinces, or promise 
him compensation, and then, if he still refused, drive him from 
his kingdom by the aid of a Spanish army; and if the Huguenots 
rose to help him the Due de Guise would levy a Catholic army, 
destroy the Bourbons and extirpate heresy in France, while at the 
same time the Duke of Savoy would destroy Geneva, and the 
German Catholics suppress the Lutherans, and so on, and so on. 

French Renaissance Sculpture: Madonna at Ecuen 


The Queen Mother, whose one desire was to hold power her- 
self and preserve the throne of her son, and who had watchfully 
tried to keep a balance between the parties, was as much troubled 
as the Huguenots. She questioned the Due de Guise about the 
rumours. He answered that he was ready to submit to an investi- 
gation by the Parlement de Paris, and be punished if he was wrong 
in doing what he had done. She then asked him whether, in 
case she and 'her son, the King, should adopt the new religion, 
which they were not at all thinking of doing, he and his brothers 
would renounce their allegiance. The Duke replied that "so long 
as the King and the Queen followed in the footsteps of their prede- 
cessors, he and his brothers would die in their service; he had no 
purpose other than to maintain the Catholic religion in the King- 
dom and the crown on the King's head, for if religion were lost 
he could see distinctly the broad road that led to the destruction of 
King and Kingdom, to both of which he was bound by so many 

The Cardinal of Lorraine made his attitude equally clear. He 
was now the most illustrious prelate in France, so much so that his 
name has sometimes been coupled with those of Richelieu and 
Mazarin as a great Cardinal-Minister of the Crown. As Arch- 
bishop of Reims he had been a conscientious administrator; he 
drained unhealthy marshes and converted them into gardens and 
meadows, he brought timber from his own forest at Joinville for 
buildings in the town, so that people said he had found a city of 
clay and left it of oak; he founded a university there, a theological 
college, a seminary and a monastery; he presided over provincial 
councils, and saw, or tried to see, that parish priests in his archi- 
episcopal diocese discharged the duties of their office; and he 
showed the greatest zeal in all his ecclesiastical functions, kept 
neither hounds nor hawks, and at every Easter withdrew into a 
retreat for spiritual exercises. He looked as a great prelate should, 
his intelligent forehead was broad and high and his bearing dis- 
tinguished, and he was eloquent in his discourses and agreeable in 


private talk. His enemies alleged that he was self-seeking, am- 
bitious, indifferent as to the means that should accomplish his 
ends, ungenerous and disloyal, and strict in vengeance, but none 
of them disputed his pre-eminence, or his great abilities. As 
Archbishop of Reims he officiated at the coronation of the young 
King (May, 1561), and in his sermon exhorted him to keep in the 
straight path of orthodoxy, for "if he should change his sentiments 
his destruction would follow, and those that counselled him to 
change his religion would at the same time be plucking his crown 
from his head." 

King Charles was never shaken, but his little brother Henry, 
aged ten, tried to convert his nine-year-old sister Margot to the new 
faith, and pulled away the prayer books that her devout guardians 
had put into her hands. The Queen Mother, true to her policy of 
balance and counterweights, made a valiant attempt at religious 
reconciliation. At Poissy, where the orthodox clergy were as- 
sembled, she invited a delegation of Huguenot ministers to come 
and debate the points in controversy, for as yet the Council of 
Trent had not definitely fixed the Catholic creed, Theodore de 
Beze, sent by Calvin, spoke for his side. He was an admirable 
speaker, and all went well till he came to the doctrine of Transub- 
stantiation, and then he said that the body and blood of Our Lord 
are as far from the bread and wine on the altar as the highest 
heaven is from the earth. The French cardinals were horrified. 
The Cardinal de Tournon, looking at the King and his mother, 
asked, "Did you hear that blasphemy?" and the Cardinal de 
Lorraine exclaimed in answer, "Would to God we had been 
deaf!" The Queen Mother reassured them; she said that she and 
the King would live and die in the Catholic faith. 

The Cardinal de Lorraine was chosen to state the orthodox 
position. He was very adroit, and persuasive, and a firm believer 
in the tenets of his Church; he believed in monarchy both for 
State and Church, and that Protestantism was the enemy of both. 
He had no doubt of Transubstantiation, that through the priest's 


consecration the bread and wine in the Eucharist are converted 
into the body and blood of Christ, as it is stated in Thomas 
Aquinas's glorious hymn: 

Verbum caro, panem verum 

Verbo carnem efficit, 

Fitque sanguis Christi merum* 

Perhaps in his subconscious mind he surmised that the Protestant 
rejection of Transubstantiation might be the crack that, slowly 
broadening, would split the sacred chalice of Christian tenets and 
spill all the contents. Surely he felt that the Protestant doctrine 
was materialistic, and raised an issue between the material and 
spiritual worlds. He spoke with great earnestness, dividing his 
discourse into two parts. The first dealt with the authority of the 
Church, the second with the Real Presence. In the first part he 
argued that Protestants stand on the finality of the Bible, written 
words of ancient time, fixed, static, unchangeable except by inter- 
pretation, while Catholics maintain that God continues to guide 
His Church, that truth marches down the ages manifesting itself 
in new aspects, through saints, through councils, through popes, 
forever explaining the immutable infinity of God; how, then, can 
it be right to secede from the Church, to sever oneself from the 
living manifestation of God ? 

In his second part he dwelt upon the doctrine of the Real 
Presence in the Eucharist. He based his argument on the words 
of the New Testament, "Take, eat, this is my body," and on the 
universal agreement of Christendom, the Roman Church, the 
Greek Church, even the Lutheran. "Indeed," he said, "the manner 
in which Our Saviour presents Himself to us, gives Himself, is 
received and is partaken of, is a mystery, not human, not according 
to nature, but none the less true. We do not accept it by the senses, 
nor by reason, nor by nature, but by Faith. Is it then better to 
believe in the words of Our Lord in so holy a matter, or to proffer 
the Hebraic words, How so? words of disbelief and perdition? 


Faith is necessary, reason superfluous; science is founded on reason, 
Faith is founded on authority." And he went on to argue that 
curiosity, the itch to enter into super-subtle questions, was the 
cause of innumerable errors in this matter, and that it was danger- 
ous, in explaining this mystery, to depart from the interpretation 
accepted by the Church. 

"It is," he said, "a mystery to be adored, that God has instituted 
to unite us more intimately with Him; and if we let curiosity 
loose, that mystery will become a source of infinite disputes, and 
the bonds of love that ought to hold us tight together will break to 
bits. In fact, if the Protestants stubbornly adhere to their opinions 
if they think that Jesus Christ since His ascension is not other- 
wise in the midst of us than as He was during His incarnation, that 
He has no other body now than His visible body, that He is no 
more in the bread and wine than in a sermon, that to receive Jesus 
Christ in the sacrament of baptism is the same as to receive His 
body and blood in the Eucharist, if they think that He is so com- 
pletely in Heaven that He is no longer on earth, that He is no more 
in the Eucharist than in a scene of tragedy or in the mind (a com- 
parison I take from a Lutheran) if the Protestants do not re- 
nounce these errors, it will be impossible ever to be reconciled, 
and come to agreement with them. And if they have no other 
answer than what they have given, then I will make use of their 
own words and say that 'the highest heavens are not farther from 
the earth' than I am from their opinions." 

Perhaps the Cardinal, whether right or wrong upon the dogma 
of Transubstantiation, was right in the belief that the Christian 
creed as accepted by the Mother Church, if it is to be maintained, 
must be maintained in its integrity; for if one dogma falls there is 
no security for the others; one by one they give way, and the whole 
Christian fabric falls to earth. Unwittingly the Calvinists, by 
their rejection of old dogmas, led the way to the complete rejection 
of Christianity. Even in our fathers' days it was a great sorrow to 
many when theological dogmas gave way before Darwin's theories, 


and to the Cardinal of Lorraine the loss of the great dogma of 
Transubstantiation was a horror and a summons to arms. And 
he closed his address by beseeching, in the name of all bishops and 
Catholic theologians present, the whole Gallican Church to main- 
tain the true doctrine even with their lives. 

The Protestants would not budge, and nothing was gained. 
More and more it became apparent that the issues could be decided 
only by the sword. 



So MATTERS went on, rushing headlong to the catastrophe. The 
Queen Mother leaned now this way, now that, trying to keep the 
balance and be ultimately on the winning side. On the one hand 
the power of the Protestants was becoming disquietingly strong, 
on the other there was danger as to what Philip of Spain might do, 
for he was determined to keep Protestantism, which he regarded 
as the ecclesiastical aspect of rebellion, out of the Low Countries, 
and to that end he would not suffer France to turn Protestant. 
And, besides, Catherine wished to marry her daughter Marguerite 
to Don Carlos, Philip's son. It was very hard to stand on top of a 
rolling ball. The Due de Guise, the Constable and the Marshal 
de Saint-Andre were acting together, and the King of Navarre 
seemed to be about to join them; those four, backed by Spain, 
would make a dangerously strong party. Catherine called to- 
gether deputies from all the Parlements of France to advise her. 
This body met and advised toleration. The Chancellor, THopital, 
accordingly drew up the Edict of January, 1562, which granted the 
Protestants not merely liberty of conscience but also liberty of 
worship outside of towns. That worship within walled towns 
was forbidden, is perfectly clear. The Edict reads: 

"Nous leur avons inhib6 et dtfendu, inhibons ct d&fendons par ces 
dites pr&sentes . . . sur peine de la vie, et sans aucune esp&rance de 
gr&ce . . . de s f assembler dedans les villes pour y jdre presches et 
predications soit en public ou en priv&, ny de jour, ny de nuict. 
We have prohibited and forbidden, and by these presents we 


VASSY 137 

prohibit and forbid . . . under pain of death, and without hope of 
pardon . . . any assembly within cities for service or preaching, 
whether in public or in private, by day or by night/' 

This the Huguenot churches fully understood, for they drew up 
an exposition of the Edict, in which Article III says, 

"Le troistime article defend de s f assembler de jour ou de nuict pour 
faire prescher dans les miles. The third article forbids assemblies, 
day or night, for holding services in the cities," 

The Catholics were indignant at the liberty granted. The Con- 
stable in dudgeon retired to his estates, the Due de Guise to his. 
They affected to wash their hands of the whole matter. The Duke 
wrote to the Constable, 

"I have begun to enjoy the pleasures of home life, as you are doinj,, 

too We are here leading a family life, and having hunting of 

all kinds, and pass the time most happily. Please believe, Sir, that 
if I can be of use to you here, or anywhere, I will go to work as 
gladly as for any man alive, I beg you to understand this. . . . And 
will you be so good as to have some sakers [falcons] sent to me, 
and if the price is the same as usual please tell the people that sell 
them to bring me a couple of cages full, after your falconers have 
examined them," 

Of course, both Duke and Constable were closely watching events. 
As we look back, the conflict seems inevitable. The reformers, 
convinced that they held God's truth in texts of the Bible, followed 
where Truth called, not speculating whether the Truth which 
summons to arms may be compact of prejudice, arrogance, super- 
stition and love of power; while the Catholics were convinced that 
men who flouted loyalty and obedience, who were ready to rend 
Christendom asunder and split the Kingdom in two, were rebels, 
heretics, villains. It was a disagreement that could be decided only 


by force. The curtain rang up for the first scene of the tragedy at 
the little town of Vassy, In Champagne, not a dozen miles from 
Joinville. The clash differed from dozens of others only in its 
dramatic tensity and in that the Due de Guise, the leading cham- 
pion of the Catholics, was held by the Huguenots to have cast 
down his glove there. 

The trouble came about in this way. The Due de Guise and the 
Cardinal of Lorraine had been looking ahead, and they saw the 
conflict coming; they knew that Philip of Spain was on their side, 
that Elizabeth of England was supporting the Huguenots, and 
that the Protestant leaders, Conde, Calvin, Bze, would try to in- 
duce the German Lutherans to help them. Now the Lutherans 
believed in transubstantiation very much as the Catholics did, 
whereas the Huguenots, being Calvinists, did not* By harping on 
this point the Guises hoped to keep the Lutherans from joining 
the Huguenots. The Cardinal of Lorraine laid great stress upon 
this in negotiations with the Germans, and seems to have gone 
pretty far in his expressions of agreement with the Lutheran 
position; at any rate, after the affair at Vassy the Lutheran Duke 
of Wiirtemberg, a little sore to think, rightly or wrongly, that he 
had been regarded as an easy gull, exclaimed, "May God be the 
avenger of guile and perjury!" Be that as it may, the brothers re- 
turned from Germany to Joinville* Here the Duke received a 
summons from the Queen Mother to go to Court, which at that 
time was near Meaux, The Duke, taking his young son Henri de 
Guise, a boy of twelve, another son, aged seven, and his sweet wife, 
great with child, as well as his brother the Cardinal, and ac- 
companied by a troop of some two hundred armed men, set forth 
from Joinville the last day of February, 1562, and stopped for the 
night at Dammartin-le-Franc. On Sunday, March first, he went 
on to Vassy* 

Now Vassy was infested with Huguenots; and many disputes 
and arguments had arisen between the two factions there. Vassy 
lay in the country of the Guises, and, though the town belonged to 

VASSY 139 

the royal domain, the revenues went to Mary Queen of Scots and 
were administered by the Duke; and the Guises, not without ex- 
cuse, regarded the spiritual welfare of the town as their business. 
The old Duchess Antoinette had its orthodoxy very much at heart, 
and had been shocked to have conventicles of sectaries meet so near 
the Chateau de Joinville. She kept complaining to the Duke, beg- 
ging him to deliver her from such a neighborhood; she reproached 
him for his patience with them, she said it was far too great, and 
did much hurt to his reputation, and that it would offend God. The 
Protestants, on their part, called her "the mother of tyrants and 
enemies to the Gospel" Altogether, the feeling in Vassy was 
tense. The Duke went there in order to pick up threescore men 
at arms, in garrison there. He was solicitous that there should be no 
tumult, so he dined in a little village before he got there. When he 
and his troops entered the town, he got off his horse in front of the 
Catholic church where service had already begun. Near by, in 
spite of the fact that the January Edict did not allow them to as- 
semble within the walls of a town, the Protestants had hired a 
grange, where they met for worship according to their ritual. The 
accounts of what happened are very conflicting. Michel de Castei- 
nau, a Catholic but a very fair-minded man, says this (Memoires 
de Michel de Castelnau, Livre III, Chapitre VII) : 

"On the first day of March, which fell on a Sunday, the Duke 
went to dine at Vassy [this is a mistake, he had dined before he 
went] where his officers, who had ridden on ahead, found the 
Protestants holding their services in a grange near the church [It 
is important to remember that the grange was inside the walls]. 
There may have been six or seven hundred persons there of all 
ages. Then, as the Due de Guise has often told me, some of his offi- 
cers, and others who had gone ahead, curious to see such a meeting 
and the new form of worship, and with no other purpose, went up 
to the door of the grange, and then an altercation arose with rude 
words on both sides. Some of those within who were on guard at 


the door threw stones and shouted insults at the Due de Guise's 
men, calling them Papists and idolaters. At the noise of this alter- 
cation some pages ran up, and several gentlemen as well as others 
of the Duke's suite, and both sides got angry over the stones and 
insults. A great number of those within rushed out and pushed 
back the Duke's men. Word of this was brought to the Duke as 
he was about to sit down to table [another mistake], and it was 
said that they were killing his men. He went there in great haste. 
He found them fighting with sticks and fists, and as he got near 
the grange several stones were thrown at him, which he warded 
off with his cloak. And then as he advanced closer, both to pro- 
tect himself from the stones and to quell the disorder, things got 
worse, and, as the Duke said, to his great regret some who were 
there to assist at the services were killed or wounded, as to which 
everybody had a different story*" 

Of course a great nobleman describing a riot of this kind makes 
it appear less serious than it was. Other accounts give more de- 
tails. According to them, the Duke sent a young gentleman of his 
suite, M. de la Brosse, to the grange, accompanied by two German 
pages, one of whom carried the Duke's hunting gun and the other 
his pistols. Young La Brosse was to tell the minister that the Duke 
desired to speak with him. At the same time the Duke, with a 
score or two of his men, made ready to follow. La Brosse went to 
the door of the grange, but somebody within slammed it in his 
face; this irritated him and he kicked the door. He, and one of the 
pages, were let, or taken, in. The other page ran back to La 
Brosse senior, and cried that his son was being massacred. La 
Brosse senior and other gentlemen flew to the rescue, and rushed 
towards the Huguenots, who answered with volleys of stones. It 
seems that there was a sort of scaffolding and upon it a pile of 
stones, apparently on purpose to be used as missiles. At any rate, 
many stones lay ready to hand. A few of the Huguenots were 
armed. [To attend service with weapons was forbidden by the 

VASSY 141 

Edict.] Shots were fired. Three of the congregation, apparently 
attempting to come out, were killed or wounded. La Brosse senior 
was severely wounded in the head, and the Duke himself as he 
came up was cut in the face by a stone, and blood drawn; at this 
the gentlemen with him were furious and ran amuck* The min- 
ister had at first attempted to go ahead with the service, but a 
harquebus was aimed at him; he pulled off his black robe and 
sought to slip out unnoticed, but tripped over a body, received a 
sword stroke, was made prisoner and taken away, guarded against 
an angry mob of women, who cried out, "Kill, kill, kill that 
wicked man!" It seems that the populace joined the Duke's 
soldiers in attacking the Huguenots. Altogether there was a 
hideous tumult, shrieks, shouts, blows, wounds, vain attempts to 
escape, and passion and hatred and vengeance. The Duke shouted 
out with all his might for them to stop, but the blood lust ranged 
among his men, and they did not heed. The Duchess of Guise 
was being carried in her litter near the walls of the town, and heard 
the fearful clamor, the shots and cries, and sent a messenger to her 
husband to end it; but he was already trying in vain to do so. 
Some fifty-odd of the Huguenots, three of them women, were 
killed, and many wounded. One man of the Duke's suite was 
killed and only a few wounded. 

The Protestants all over France shrieked that it was a massacre, 
that the Duke had done it of malice prepense, and demanded 
vengeance; they called him the Butcher of Vassy, and issued all 
sorts of distorted stories. The Catholics, on the contrary not per- 
haps without a touch of irony, for the Protestants made a fetish of 
the Bible compared him to Moses, and quoted the episode of 
heresy concerning the Golden Calf: "Then Moses stood in the 
gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? let him 
come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves to- 
gether unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord 
God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and 
out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man 


his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his 
neighbor. And the children of Levi did according to the word of 
Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand 
men," (Exod. 32: 26, 27.) Such, the Catholics pointed out, was the 
punishment of heretical action in the brave days of old. 

The accusations against the Duke were submitted to the Parle- 
ment de Paris, and it completely acquitted him. It said, "We have 
not found, and do not find, any charge against him sustained; and 
no prosecution on account of the misadventure occurring at Vassy 
shall be had against him; all the fault lies with those who are al- 
leged to have been maltreated, maimed, or killed, and they are far 
from any right to reparation* ... On the contrary, what the Due 
de Guise did was done in a righteous cause, according to the 
statutes, the law of nature and the jus gentium" There seem to 
have been three grounds on which the court could have based 
its judgment: One, that the assemblage for worship, being within 
a town, was unlawful; two, that some of the congregation carried 
weapons; three, that the Huguenots began the fray. At any rate 
the general Catholic opinion was that the Huguenots had violated 
the law and got what they deserved. But the significance of the 
episode was plain: the quarrel between the two religions could 
be settled only by civil war. 

The Protestants took up arms at once and chose the Prince de 
Cond for their chief. The Due de Guise, the Constable and the 
Marshal de Saint-Andr6 put their heads together. The King of 
Navarre threw his lot in with them, and declared that "Whoever 
touched the fingertips of his brother, the Due de Guise, touched 
him at the very center of his heart." The Queen Mother, however, 
alarmed more than ever by the Duke's popularity, bade him not go 
to Paris but to come to the Court, which was then at Monceaux. The 
Duke disobeyed; accompanied by two thousand horse, he entered 
Paris by the gate of Saint-Denis, amid the vociferous cheers of the 
people. The city elders came to meet him, and the Prv6t des 
Marchands (equivalent to Mayor) hailed him as Defender of the 
Faith. Catherine became more and more frightened; the Trium- 

VASSY 143 

virate, strengthened by the accession of the first Prince of the 
Blood, might seize the reins of government and deprive her of the 
regency. She turned to the Protestants and wrote to the Prince de 
Conde, now the acknowledged head of the Huguenot party, a 
letter conjuring him to save her, her children and the Kingdom, 
and said she hoped with his aid to remedy all her troubles pru- 
dently adding, "Burn this instantly." She also sent word to Admiral 
Coligny to seize Orleans, Rouen and other cities. 

If Conde had acted at once, if he had taken her and the King 
under his protection, he might have secured the government, but 
he did not. The Catholic chiefs, more astute, perceived how near 
they had come to being checkmated, and took advantage of his 
failure; they went out to Fontainebleau and politely asked Cath- 
erine to come to Paris with them. She did not care to go. The 
Triumvirs indicated to Antoine de Bourbon that he was the proper 
spokesman, but he shilly-shallied, and the Duke took the matter in 
hand. He said to Catherine: "Madam, we know the respect due 
to you, and we will not forego it as long as we live; but our duty 
obliges us to answer to the State for the King's safety. You are at 
liberty to stay here as long as you wish, but our loyalty to the King 
compels us to take him today to a place where he shall have nothing 
to fear from his rebel subjects." The Queen attempted to gain 
time by enlisting the sympathies of the, vain and vacillating 
Antoine. But the Duke stiffened Antoine's backbone; he said to 
him, "You know the Queen and her artful ways. She is seeking 
to gain time. A project like ours needs speed. The Prince de Conde 
has the same design as we, his army is increasing every minute, he 
is too capable a man not to attack us as soon as he is strong enough. 
And then, in possession of the King's person, he will make us the 
laughingstock of Europe for allowing ourselves to be won over 
by the theatrical tears of an ambitious woman." Antoine acqui- 
esced, and the Queen Mother realized that she was in the power of 
a resolute man and that go she must. She wept tears of rage, but 
the Duke remarked, "A benefit that comes from love or force 
does not cease to be a benefit." 


THE Huguenots affected to be outraged by this imprisonment, as 
they called it, of the King. The Prince de Conde issued a manifesto 
to say that he was taking up arms to release the King and his 
mother, and to enforce the Edict of January, which the Due de 
Guise (he said) had trampled under foot. The Huguenot bands 
gathered together, and separate troops captured Orleans, Angers, 
Tours, Blois, Valence and Lyons. The Catholics struck back. 
Everywhere there was massacre and iconoclasm. The Catholics, 
being more numerous, succeeded in hanging, drowning, hewing 
and hacking, more people than the Huguenots^ but the Huguenots 
outdid them in sacking churches and breaking statues, images, 
vessels symbols of belief dearer to the Catholics than life. 

I will quote some details from the historian De Thou (1553- 
1617). The Prince de Conde captured Beaugency, a little town 
on the Loire, midway between Orleans and Blois, to which errant 
tourists motor in order to see the long-arched bridge across the 
river, and a Renaissance hotel de ville a town, as the guidebook 
puts it, "with a chequered history." De Thou briefly says: "After 
two breaches made in the wall, the Provencal troops, followed by 
the Gascons [the South was the main breeding-place of Hugue- 
nots] and by the regiment of Jean d'Hangest, lord of Ivry, took 
the city by assault, put almost all its garrison to death, and sacked 
it, without even sparing what Protestants were in the city." The 
Catholics took Blois; the soldiers pillaged all the houses, killed or 
drowned all the Protestants, without sparing women, some of 
whom were violated, others massacred among others a lady of 



good family, who, having been rescued from drowning, could not 
escape the fury of the murderers. The same sort of thing happened 
in dozens of cities all over France* One consequence was that, as 
in the time of The Hundred Years' War, all the rascals, rogues, 
ne'er-do-wells, idlers and criminals procured arms, banded to- 
gether, and, whenever town or village had no means of defense, 
robbed and destroyed to their hearts' content. Ascribing all this to 
the Huguenots, the Parlement de Paris issued a decree outlawing 
them, and commanding all Catholics to take arms, sound the toc- 
sin, chase them, and kill with impunity, and other similar Chris- 
tian procedure; and the priests were ordered to read this decree 
every Sunday from the pulpit 

De Thou then goes on: "The obedient peasants took advantage 
of this to abandon, with pleasure, tillage of the ground for the more 
amusing occupations of robbery, pillage, lust and massacre. They 
chose from among their number leaders who had the most greed, 
effrontery, ferocity and inclination to carnage, and then, separat- 
ing into bands, each under its leader, roamed about ready to 
commit all sorts of crimes." One of these bands went to the little 
town of Ligueil on the Indre in Touraine (the garden of France), 
where they strangled some of the inhabitants, put out the pastor's 
eyes and burned him over a slow fire. Another band went in the 
direction of Loches, and practiced all species of cruelty, not only 
against people whose orthodoxy was suspected but also against 
people wholly above reproach. There was like disorder in the 
country round Vendome. The Protestants had broken the sacred 
images in the churches, and even violated the tomb of the Counts 
and Dukes of Vendome, and the populace was so angry that it 
treated them like mad dogs. The law-abiding people asked for 
soldiers from Le Mans to protect them. De Thou then says: "The 
gentry, concerned about these evils, took arms to stop them, and 
chose Pierre Ronsard to command them. This sublime genius, 
delighted by the attractions, advantages and charms of this country 
[Touraine] had accepted the Curacy of fivailles. He was not one 


of those ecclesiastics who regard the priesthood and pastoral func- 
tions as an engagement to a serious life, or as a check upon the 
liberty and license which poets permit themselves. Bred at court 
among the pages of Charles, Duke of Orleans, son of Francois I, 
he practiced the profession of arms, and had served in England and 
Scotland, before he devoted himself to the study of literature under 
Jean Dorat, and made use of the rare talent he possessed for poetry. 
As the pleasures and amusements of the simple life, which he had 
been leading for some time, had not caused him to lose his old 
tastes, this occasion that thus presented itself woke up the taste 
he had for fighting. So Ronsard, unable longer to put up with the 
insolence of those people who went about with impunity sacking 
churches, formed a troop of young gentlemen, put himself at 
their head and chastised severely a great number of these brigands. 
But when he learned that a body of troops was on its way from 
Le Mans, he went back to his presbytery. * . . 

"At Saint-Calais, some twenty miles to the northwest from 
Vendome, the monks of the abbey there did not, for reasons un- 
known to me, like having soldiers quartered in the town to keep 
the peace. They rang their bells and, at the head of a body of 
sympathizers, killed some thirty soldiers that were in the abbey, 
and then went to the house of M. Constandier, who was there in 
peace and quiet, strangled him, & then killed his wife and threw 
her body into a well. The lord of the town, Joachim le Vasseur de 
Coigner, the most important of the local gentry, in great indig- 
nation at this, came with a company of soldiers and took a terrible 
vengeance on the monks and priests who had sought refuge in the 
abbey. He killed most of them, hanged the two ringleaders in the 
church, from which they had given the signal, and then had the 
bells rung for Vespers." 

One could give a list of dozens and dozens of French cities that 
were sacked by brutal violence Bourgeuil, Le Mans, Abbeville, 
Senlis, Valogne, Poitiers, Corbigny, Gien, Aurillac, Macon, and 
so on. The Cardinal de Lorraine summed up the situation when 


addressing the Council of Trent: "The Hand of God has stricken 
us, fathers and brothers. ... All rights, all laws, are silent; every 
man according to his private and particular hatred takes vengeance 
on his enemy; the people are stirred to revolt, they have shaken and 
thrown off (as they say) the yoke of monarchy, and publicly set 
up anarchy." The wisdom of the ancient Romans in their hospi- 
tality to alien gods and their well-bred indifference to dogmas be- 
comes clearer than ever. 

Both sides felt it was time to strike a decisive blow. Antoine de 
Bourbon, as Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom, was commander- 
in-chief of the Catholic army, while his brother, the Prince de 
Conde, as Prince of the Blood, assumed the command of the 
Huguenots. The Catholic army was the more numerous, but that 
of the Huguenots was superior in quality; it is said that four 
thousand gentlemen of the most ancient houses in France had 
joined them. Of these nobles by far the most important was 
Admiral Coligny. For a long time Coligny had been uncertain 
where his duty lay. He stood, like Robert E. Lee, between two 
loyalties: he hated the thought of civil war, Frenchmen against 
Frenchmen, and he doubted if the Huguenots could resist the 
power of the Triumvirate. Then dreadful stories of massacres 
came flying in, and he heard that the Prince de Conde had raised 
the standard of revolt. One night, after he had gone to bed and 
been asleep for two hours, he was wakened by his wife's sobs and 
sighs. He turned to her and asked what was the matter. She wept 
and said, "The bodies of our brethren lie naked in dungeons, or 
scattered in the fields, a prey to dogs and ravens; their blood and 
your wife cry aloud to God." She besought him to call his gentle- 
men to arms, join Conde and fight for the faith. He tried to make 
her see the likelihood of defeat and its consequences. "Think," 
he said, "is your heart stout enough to bear complete overthrow, to 
endure treason among our friends, flight, exile in a foreign land, 
hunger for yourself, and, what is worse, for your children, and 
death by the executioner, after you have seen your husband 


dragged through the streets and exposed to ignominy?" She wept 
and persisted. He asked for three weeks to think it over, "Three 
weeks!" she cried. "Don't lay upon your soul the deaths of those 
three weeks. I demand of you, in God's name, not to be false to us 
now." He got up. His wife and her ladies saddled the horses 
while the gentlemen buckled on their armor, then they helped him 
mount, and off he rode to join Conde. His brother d'Andelot, La 
Rochefoucauld and other great noblemen served under him. 

Of these two Huguenot chiefs, Conde and Coligny, the Papal 
nuncio has left a description: 

"Their talents and tastes are different. The Admiral is better in 
council, the Prince in action. The strength of the latter lies in his 
impetuosity, that of the former in his steadfastness. The one is 
shrewd, the other is still shrewder. The Prince has a more pleasing 
character; the Admiral is the more austere. The Prince, too, loves 
racing, jumping, hunting, exhibitions of wrestling, public shows, 
every kind of armed contest, horses, sports, jests, girls dancing, 
women singing. But with the Admiral there always seems to be 
seriousness of thought and conduct. Then, again, the Prince is a 
most graceful speaker, whereas the Admiral's eloquence is of a 
graver kind, perhaps because he has become familiar with the Latin 
tongue, and devotes himself earnestly to theological pursuits. The 
latter, also, is much interested in State affairs, and swift to punish 
wrongdoing, the former being more easygoing. The Admiral 
advises as to what should be done; but the Prince does it. 
Then, too, the Admiral gives audience to ambassadors, busies him- 
self with supplies and finance, decides points of law, fortifies 
positions, draws up the line of battle, pitches camp, reviews the 
army, chooses the place and time of battle, and superintends 
religious affairs. The Prince, on the other hand, asks for danger 
and fight; he is small and of elegant figure. The Admiral uses a 
toothpick, and carries it in his mouth, day and night. Yet both, 
by their graciousness and generosity, are a power with all." 
(Quoted by A. W. Whitehead). 


I. ''* 



, <( wif , > ;, 

^:; '.' ijf''' 
sir*, , i * 

Antoine de Bourbon 

(Photograph by Giraudon) 


And Brantome rounds out this description of the Prince by 
noting an aspect that appealed to him: 

"Ce petit homme tant jolly 
Tousjours cause ct tousjours ry, 
Tousjours baise sa mignonne. 
Dieu garde de mal le petit homme. 

This pleasant dainty little man 
Chats and laughs whenever he can, 
And round a sweetheart puts his arm; 
God keep this little man from harm! 

Brantome also says, "He is little, but vigorous, strong and adroit 
as any man in France, on foot or on horseback, more ambitious 
than pious, and as much attached as another to the pleasures of 
this world, and as much in love with other men's wives as with 
his own, for he has the Bourbon disposition, which is of a very 
amorous complexion." 

The Huguenots made Orleans their headquarters, and the 
Triumvirs proposed to isolate the city by capturing the rebellious 
towns roundabout, Blois, Bourges and others, and then lay siege 
to it; but when they learned that Conde had made a treaty with 
Queen Elizabeth by which she was to give him 600,000 crowns and 
6,000 soldiers, upon his agreement to surrender Havre, for her to 
hold until she should receive Calais in exchange, they changed 
their minds and decided to capture Rouen before the English 
soldiers could arrive, and at once began the siege (Sept. 28, 1562). 

They carried by assault a fort on the Cote Sainte-Catherine, 
alongside the river, to the southeast of the town, and then they 
were able to dig their trenches close to the city walls. The Duke 
and Antoine de Bourbon were frequently in the trenches, and 
Queen Catherine herself came within easy reach of cannon and 
harquebus; she said there was no more reason for her to avoid 
danger than for them. Antoine exposed himself once too often, 
and was badly wounded. Dr. Pare examined the wound, but he 
could give no hope. The Constable took over the command, and 


on October 26th, after the city had rejected a final offer of life, 
liberty of conscience and a general amnesty, all was ready for the 
assault. The Due de Guise wished to spare the townsfolk. He 
proclaimed to the soldiers, "That victory over oneself is greater 
than any that can be won from an enemy, that it would be un- 
worthy of disciplined soldiers to sack a city of France, especially 
against the will of the King," and he promised extra pay to officers 
and soldiers. The assault sounded, the ramparts were carried, the 
Catholics pursued the flying defenders and paid no more heed to 
the Duke's words than to the prayers of their victims. The one 
great rule they respected was "to the victors belong the spoils." 
The sack lasted three days. The wounded King of Navarre was 
carried in a litter through the breach into the city, but it was his 
last triumph; he died some two weeks later, having relapsed, it is 
believed, into Protestantism once more. 

The Duke of Guise won great honor in this siege. He deserved, as 
usual, the praise of taking infinite pains beforehand; he played the 
parts of chief of artillery, commissary, colonel, captain, private, and 
displayed his universal military accomplishments. When he wished 
a place reconnoitered he never said, to captain, sergeant or private, 
"Go there, reconnoiter that place for me." Or, if he did, and was 
not satisfied with their reports, he went afterwards to see; but 
most of the time he went himself. He personally stationed officers 
and privates where he wished them, in the trenches, in the ditches, 
on the ramparts, or at the breach, or elsewhere, as it might be, 
Brantome, who was there, says: 

"I saw him one day, at the siege of Rouen, give an order to M. de 
Bellegarde, who was afterwards a Marshal of France. The Duke 
thought him a Huguenot, and had heard that in Piedmont he had 
been a blustering, hectoring fellow, so, to prove him on these two 
points, he ordered him to reconnoiter a recess or bay, in the keep, 
in order to ascertain whether there was not a hidden bastion there. 
He noticed Bellegarde looking for a casque and shield, so he lent 


him his. M. de Bellegarde undoubtedly went on the errand, and 
was in danger, for on returning there were two bullets in the 
shield that he had hung over his back. He made his report to M. 
de Guise, who was not as well satisfied as he wished to be; the re- 
port was not sufficiently exact. So he said, "Give me my shield; I 
am not wholly pleased with what you have told me/ He put on 
casque and shield, and went calmly, although the harquebuses 
were hard at work, without the slightest sign of apprehension or 
haste. He looked and inspected at his ease, without curtailing his 
visit, as some captains do, satisfying themselves, in view of the 
dangers, with a half-done or very imperfect job. Then he returned 
slowly to the trenches, where there were more than a thousand of 
us watching him. He took off his armor and said that he was better 
satisfied than he had been, and had definitely learned something as 
to which he had been in doubt. . . . The assault on the city was 
made soon afterwards, and after he had given the necessary orders 
he went with the column and took his part in the fight; in conse- 
quence, his captains, soldiers and gentlemen (for instance M. 
Andouin, a valiant nobleman, and the brave young lord Castelpers, 
who were killed near him), and many others, seeing their general 
so courageous, and hearing him urge them on with brave words, 
fought in rivalry, carried the place with a rush, and followed up 
their victory furiously. The Duke (always at their head), after 
he had forced the breach and stood on the wall, recommended 
three things: the honor of the women, the lives of good Catholics 
who had been detained there by force, and no mercy to the English, 
ancient enemies of France. That is how this valiant general showed 
his men how to fight well, how to rush into danger, and not 
spare skin or life, more than he himself did." 

During the siege, according to Oudin, a contemporary, a young 
gentleman of Le Mans, who had sneaked into the royal camp in 
order to assassinate the Duke of Guise, was caught. The Duke 
asked him if he had done him any wrong. The young man said, 


"No." "Why then," the Duke asked, "did you try to take my 
life?" "Just the zeal that I have for my religion/' the fellow 
answered, "for I believe that your death would be of great ad- 
vantage to it." "If your religion," the Duke answered, "teaches 
you to assassinate those that have never done you a wrong, mine 
teaches me to forgive my enemies. Go in peace and learn a better 


AFTER the siege of Rouen both sides received reinforcements. 
D'Andelot, with English money, hired seven thousand German 
mercenaries, and, at or near Orleans, joined Conde, who thereupon 
marched on Paris, but in too dilatory a fashion; the Due de Guise, 
with Spanish troops, had preceded him, and already garrisoned 
the city. Conde then led his army to the northwest to meet the 
English auxiliaries in Normandy; and the Catholic army, com- 
manded by the Constable, taking a parallel route a little farther to 
the north, hurried to intercept him. The Huguenots were delayed 
by the load of booty they had taken, and the Constable, travelling 
faster, was able to cross the little river Eure, near Dreux, and take a 
position a few miles south of the town, between it and the enemy. 
A great plain, rising in a gradual curve from the city of Dreux, 
spreads out southwards into a wide plateau. Here the Constable 
drew up his army in battle array, on lines east and west. His right 
wing, consisting of French troops and two thousand Spanish 
auxiliaries, extended to the hamlet of fipernay; in the center he 
placed his main battalions, six thousand Swiss, and on his left 
French and Breton infantry, resting on the village of Blainville. 
He himself took his station, with artillery, between the center and 
left wing, while Saint-Andre led the right wing. The Due de 
Guise had no regular command; he placed himself with his men- 
at-arms near the hamlet of fipernay, to the rear on the right, where 
the ground swells slightly, and from the top he could follow the 
course of the battle. 

The plateau was an excellent place for the employment of cav- 



airy and, as the Huguenots had five thousand horse to the Catho- 
lics' two, Conde decided to attack, although the Constable had 
some fourteen thousand foot to his eight. Coligny led the charge 
on the Huguenot right, while Conde charged the Swiss. Coligny 
routed the Constable's left wing, chased the fugitives from the 
field and captured the Constable. Conde, too, broke through the 
Swiss battalions, but did not scatter them; on the contrary, they 
rallied. "Their faces all blood and dust, their eyes flaming with 
fury, and loudly bellowing," they rushed to meet Conde's Lutheran 
lansquenets, and fought so lustily that it was only after the Protes- 
tant wings closed in round them that they were driven back, and 
even so they retreated in good order. At this retreat the Huguenot 
officers, all jubilant, congratulated their generals, but Coligny 
pointed towards fipernay and said, "That thundercloud will soon 
be upon us." The contingent under the Due de Guise, on the ex- 
treme right, had not been engaged; the Duke had bided his time, 
holding back till opportunity beckoned. He then charged, horse 
and foot, upon the Huguenot army, scattered loose over the great 
plain. He swept all before him; Conde was wounded and made 
prisoner. Nevertheless, Coligny, who had rallied a thousand or 
more of his cavalry behind the village of Blainville, returned and 
attacked Guise's pikemen. In the melee Saint-Andre was captured, 
and murdered by a personal enemy. But Coligny could not long 
withstand the rallied Catholics, and withdrew, leaving the field to 
the victors (December 19, 1562). 

The battle was not decisive, but it redounded to the glory and 
advantage of the Due de Guise; of his two fellow Triumvirs, one 
was killed^ the other captured, and he was left supreme, and, as 
De Thou says, it was he that decided the victory. Brantome gives 
all the credit to the Duke Ce grand Due de Guise, whom Span- 
iards call el gran ducque de Guysa, and Italians il gran capitano 
"for true it is that the battle was lost, but M. de Guise, who was 
always cool and steady, bided his time, and recovered all that had 
been lost, and turned defeat into a notable victory." Some thought, 


he says, that the Duke should have taken part in the battle sooner, 
and adds, "He did not do so because it was not the right time. By 
waiting for the very nick of opportunity he charged, at the crucial 
moment, full upon the fresh Huguenot forces, who had not been 
engaged, and on their infantry, and recalled to life what we had 
thought dead and buried. I remember (as I was there) how, after 
he had watched the game played to the end, the battle lost, the 
disorder and rout of our men, and the confused and straggling pur- 
suit of the Huguenots, the Duke, at the head of his men, gazing in 
this direction and then in that, bade his people make way to let 
him go through them more easily; and, passing through several 
ranks, how he looked about at his ease, rising up in his stirrups, 
though he was tall (both big and well-made), so that he could see 
better. Having done so, and seeing that his opportunity was at 
hand, he turned round, then looked a little more, but only for a 
moment, and then all of a sudden cried out: "Come, my friends, 
they are ours; the battle is won!' " His steadfast patience, holding 
back till it was time to strike, won great admiration from military 
men, even among the Huguenots themselves. Blaise de Montluc 
said that "if the Duke had lost the battle, it would have been all up 
with France, for both State and Religion would have been over- 
turned, 5 ' 

That night the Duke of Guise, left sole commander of the royal 
army, lodged in a peasant's hut in the village of Blainville. Here he 
received his illustrious prisoner, the Prince de Conde, with all the 
deference due to a Prince of the Blood. They dined at the same 
table. Early in the day the Huguenot mercenaries, having achieved 
a temporary victory, had pillaged the Duke's baggage, and there 
was but one bed to be found. The Duke offered it to the Prince, 
who hesitated; he was unwilling to take too great advantage of 
the Duke's courtesy, and on the other hand he did not wish to ap- 
pear rude. So they shared one bed together. 

At the time, however, the Duke was criticized because he had not 
gone to the rescue of the Constable in time to save him. The Duke, 


therefore, wishing to make his case clear, when he saw the Queen 
and King at Rambouillet a month later, asked the Queen, ceremo- 
niously, please, after her dinner, to "grant him an audience." His 
words were very formal and startled the Queen, who had reason 
enough to be uncertain as to what might happen at any minute. 
"Jesus! Cousin," she exclaimed, "what are you saying?" He 
explained that he wished to report to her publicly just what he had 
done, since she had given him command of her army, and to 
present to her the officers, both French and foreign, who had 
faithfully served her and the King. The Queen granted the audi- 
ence, and the Duke rendered a full account of his doings. "He 
praised very highly the Constable, the Duke d'Aumale (his 
brother), the Marechal de Saint-Andre, and M. de La Brosse, and 
many others dead or living. He praised the French soldiers, and 
also the Spanish, although they had not done as much as had 
been expected but that, he said was not their fault, for they were 
not in the thick of the fight but their martial appearance, always 
ranged in ranks according to traditional military discipline, had 
been of great service. Above all he praised the Swiss very highly 
for their long and obstinate resistance, for rallying again and again 
after they had been driven back with great loss and coming up 
again to the fight. He spoke so well of all, that those who had not 
been there cursed their luck, and they that had deemed them- 
selves very fortunate to be so praised by their general 

"One thing he did that surprised everybody; he praised a great 
many officers and noblemen who, as all knew, avoient gentiment 
fuy, had very prettily run away. The Queen and others asked him 
his reason for praising those men. He said that it was one of the 
things that happened in war, which had possibly never come to 
them before and never would again, and that another time they 
would correct that fault and have courage to do better. However, 
he skimmed lightly over their praises, and laid great stress on those 
that had done well, which made it easy to tell where he flattered 
and where he told the truth. He talked for a long time, in the 
midst of complete silence, for he spoke so well that everyone was 


carried away. He was eloquent, one of our best speakers [I am 
quoting Brantome], not with artificial and florid eloquence, but 
simple and soldier-like, and with the grace of those qualities. The 
Queen Mother said afterwards that she had never heard him to 
greater advantage. Then the Duke presented his officers to her, 
and she, being then little more than forty, with her charm of 
manner, and her pleasant readiness, received them most graciously. 
She told the Duke that, though she had read his reports, she was 
much pleased to hear the story from his own lips, and that she and 
the King would always be indebted to him for the great obliga- 
tion of his victory* She then thanked all the officers with extreme 
courtesy, and assured them that when she found opportunity 
and she would seek it she would show her gratitude. They all 
were well content with their Queen and their general. As for 
myself [Brantome says] I never heard anyone speak better than 
the Duke did then; even M. le Cardinal, his eloquent brother, 
had he been there, would have been put to shame." 

Montaigne, who was a grown man at the time of the battle, 
says: "There were all sorts of unusual happenings in the Battle 
of Dreux; and those who are not very friendly to the reputation 
of M. de Guise are very ready to assert that he had no excuse for 
having stood still and waited with the forces under his command 
while the enemy was overwhelming the Constable, the general-in- 
chief, with its artillery, and that it would have been better, in 
order to prevent so great a loss, to run a risk and take the enemy 
in the flank, than to wait for the advantage of attacking him from 
behind. But, aside from the testimony of the result, whoever dis- 
cusses the matter impartially will readily admit, I think, that the 
end and aim, not of every captain but of every individual soldier, 
must look to final victory, and that incidental occurrences, of 
whatever importance they may be in themselves, must not divert 
them from that object," And he cites a precedent from Greek 
history. Montaigne is right; and no reasonable person, however 
prejudiced against the Duke as the champion of Catholicism, will 
fail to agree. 


THE Battle of Dreux, by the capture of both the Constable and the 
Prince de Conde, and the death of Saint~Andr6, had left the Due 
de Guise and Admiral Coligny the indisputable heads of the two 
parties. Coligny went to Normandy in order to join his English 
allies, and the Duke, taking his army in the opposite direction, 
laid siege to Orleans, the chief city held by the Huguenots. On 
the south side of the river lies the faubourg le Portereau, which 
had been well fortified by walls, bastions and a moat, and was 
connected with the city on the north bank by a bridge. This bridge 
was also protected, close to the south shore, by a fort, Les Tourelles, 
famous in French history because a hundred and thirty-three 
years before Joan of Arc had captured it from the besieging 
English and saved the city. The Duke attacked this faubourg in 
the beginning of February, 1563. D'Andelot, Coligny's brother, the 
Huguenot general, had posted a detachment of troops there, 
Gascons to the west, German mercenaries to the east, with orders 
to hold the position at all costs until the movable property and 
military stores could be transported across the bridge into the city, 
But the Duke acted too promptly for them. The Gascons fought 
well, but the Germans abandoned their posts, and the assailants 
swarmed in. D'Andelot, ill though he was, sallied forth from the 
city with a band of Huguenot nobles. "Follow me, Gentlemen!" 
he cried. "We must drive back the enemy or die. This is the only 
passage by which they can attack us, and it is only wide enough 
for ten men abreast. With a hundred men we can hold off a thou- 
sand. Come on, Gallants!" He reached the fort of Les Tourelles 



just in time, for the defenders, in terrible confusion, their ranks 
mixed, encumbered with baggage, were at the mercy of the assail- 
ants; some had been cut down, some drowned, some had perished 
in flames, and the bridge had a narrow escape from complete 
capture. The escape, however, was but very temporary, for in a 
few days the Royalists carried it, and with the capture of the fort 
the Duke felt confident of the speedy fall of the city. On Febru- 
ary 18 he wrote to the Queen that the siege would very soon have a 
happy issue, and that he would not delay to send her news of it. 

Indeed there was every reason to believe that the Catholics 
would now be able to crush the rebellious Huguenots. The Due 
de Guise was vastly superior in military abilities to the Constable, 
and after the capture of Orleans it would not have been difficult for 
him to have overcome every Huguenot force in the field. He was 
the great, the supreme danger, to the Huguenot cause, as the 
Huguenots were well aware, and he was accordingly hated by 
them, very much as General Sherman was hated by the Southern- 
ers after his march to the sea. So extreme was their hate, they 
committed it so thoroughly to tradition and legend, that even today 
this preux chevalier, this brave, generous, magnanimous gentle- 
man, loyal to the King and his church, is depicted by historians 
of Huguenot sympathies as a cruel, unscrupulous, avaricious, time- 
serving adventurer, Clio, certainly, has her wayward moods. 
Every Huguenot child was taught that he was the great enemy 
of their cause. Naturally, several attempts had been made to 
assassinate him, and his death was worth twenty thousand men. 

During the siege, the Duke encamped his army at Olivet, two 
and a half miles south of the river, and made his headquarters 
at Vaslins, a hamlet a short distance south of the little river 
Loiret, while he himself slept at the Chatelet, a mansion hard by. 
His wife and his eldest son, Henri, the young Prince de Joinville, 
had lately come to join him, for he wished to give his son his first 
lessons in war. Every day the Duke rode out to the trenches and 
returned at night* On Thursday, February 18, he came back later 


than usual, for he had been expecting envoys from the Queen con- 
cerning negotiations with the Huguenots. They had not come, 
so he started back for Vaslins, by way of Saint-Mesmin; but as the 
bridge there had been destroyed by the enemy he sent his staff 
round by the bridge at Olivet, and he himself rode to the ferry 
which for the nonce took the place of the broken bridge. The 
ferryboat was small, and would hold only two or three horses 
and four men. Brantome recounts this anecdote concerning the 
broken bridge (told him by M. de Serre, chief of the commis- 
sariat), how M. de Serre had urged the Duke to have the bridge re- 
built, so that it would be pleasanter for him and also save his staff 
from the necessity of taking the roundabout way by the bridge 
at Olivet. M. de Guise replied: "Let us save the King's money. 
He has much to do elsewhere; he has great need of every penny, 
for everybody robs him on every side. We can get on very well 
without the bridge; this little ferryboat is enough for me." If the 
bridge had been rebuilt the Duke's staff would have accompanied 
him, and his life would have been saved. 

The Duke had with him this afternoon only four persons: M. 
de Rostaing (the Queen's chamberlain), Rostaing's valet, his own 
maitre d'hotel and a young huntsman. A trumpeter accompanying 
them had ridden on ahead to warn the ferryman of the Duke's 
approach; the other five, following, crossed the ferry. Then the 
maitre d'hotel galloped ahead, in order to reach the Chatelet as 
soon as possible and spare the Duchess any anxiety she might feel 
because the Duke was late, and to let her know that she might 
order supper set on the table. The road was steep, and the Duke 
rode slowly; he had taken off his cuirasse for comfort and wore 
only doublet and cloak, and was talking to M. de Rostaing, who 
was riding by his side, about the possibilities of peace. The young 
huntsman was just ahead. Meantime, however, the maitre d'h6tel 
had noticed a man walking to and fro in the neighborhood of the 
broken bridge, leading his horse by the bridle, who asked him 
when the Duke would be coming; but naturally the maitre d'hotel 

(Archives Photographiques d'Art ct d'Histoire, Paris) 

Francois de Guise 


had had no suspicion of him. The little cavalcade reached the 
point where the road to the Chatelet crossed that by which they 
had come; there were tall walnut trees there > and, near by, the 
walls of a ruined house. A man rode by them, who took off his 
hat to the Duke, and passed on. The Duke turned to acknowledge 
the salutation when suddenly a shot rang out, and a man on horse- 
back a few paces distant was seen turning his bridle as if to fly. 
The Duke cried, "I am killed!" and fell forward on his horse's neck. 
M. de Rostaing drew his sword and dashed at the murderer, but 
the latter struck at him such a stroke that his head, had he not bent 
it aside, would have been split, and rode off, easily outstripping M. 
de Rostaing's mule. 

The Chatelet was scarce a mile away, and the Duke was held 
upon his horse by his companions. Brantome was there; he says: 
"I remember that when M. de Guise received the wound from 
which he died, the Duchess was at the camp, for she had come 
a few days before to visit him. As he entered the house, so 
wounded, she ran to the door in despair, weeping, and, greeting 
him, cried out, 'Is it possible that the wretch who did the deed, 
and he that ordered it (for she suspected the Admiral) shall re- 
main unpunished! God, if you are just, as you ought to be, take 
vengeance, otherwise' Before she finished, her husband in re- 
buke said, *My love, do not offend God by your words. If it be 
He that has sent me this for my sins, His will be done, and praised 
be He. If the deed comes from elsewhere, vengeance is reserved 
to Him, and He will take it without you.' " Then he kissed her 
and his son, Henri, the young Prince de Joinville, and was carried 
into his bedroom, where surgeons examined his wound. That 
evening a number of officers came in, and he begged them to 
finish the dispatches he had begun, and attend to sundry military 
matters, so that the King's business might not be retarded by his 
wound. Among his letters that came that day, three warned him 
to be on his guard. 

There was a search for the assassin, and he was captured on 


the second day, Saturday. That same day the Queen, who had 
been notified, came and paid a visit to the Duke. The wounded 
man seemed greatly comforted by the honor done him, gave her 
an account of his actions and plans, and appeared better. The next 
day she had the assassin, whose name was Poltrot de Mer6, brought 
before her Council and examined. He made a full and complete 
confession, answered all questions asked him, and ended by as- 
serting that Admiral Coligny, M. de Soubise, M. de La Rochefou- 
cauld and many others had instigated the crime. 

The Duke, in spite of excruciating remedies applied by the sur- 
geons, grew worse. Lancelot de Carle, Bishop of Riez, gave a full 
account of his last days in a letter to the King, and, though couched 
in rhetorical language, there is every reason to believe it to be 
substantially accurate. And there is another narrative of the Duke's 
interview with Catherine de M^dicis, on Tuesday, the day before 
his death, written by someone on the spot, which I quote from M. 
de Vaissiere. 

"He made in the presence of the Queen and a great many gentle- 
men a long discourse on the reasons that had moved him to enter 
upon this war. He said it had never been his intention to do 
aught but to preserve the Kingdom in peace and unity, under the 
young King, but for the love he bore the King and the welfare of 
the Kingdom he could not bear the wrongs done to His Majesty, 
the taking possession of his fortresses, and other acts of rebellion 
and sedition, as he had often asserted in many a statement; that it 
was well known that he had not undertaken the war of his own 
accord on the contrary, last year when he was in Lorraine, 
where he had gone with the idea of making a long stay, he was 
summoned and solicited by the King of Navarre, the King's Lieu- 
tenant-General, to come into France and assemble the troops that 
he did assemble, and from that time the Queen and the King point 
by point had ordered him to do what he had done, and without 
their command he had undertaken nothing. As for himself, he 


protested that he entertained no angry feelings against the Hugue- 
nots, nor any personal enmity against M. le Prince de Conde, nor 
against the Sieur de Chatillon, who had instigated, so it was said, 
the doing of what had been done. He had acted under the com- 
mand of the King and Queen, and out of the zeal that he felt for 
the welfare and peace of the realm, which he saw greatly menaced 
by ruin if a remedy were not promptly applied; and whether the 
remedy applied had obviated a greater evil, was a question that 
he submitted to the judgment of every man of common sense and 
a loyal subject of the King. 

"He had not paid attention to any man's religion, because every- 
one is master of his own conscience, but when he saw that this new 
religion brought with it sedition and rebellion, that it evidently 
wanted to change the government and the laws, he could not bear 
to have that happen. But he did not blame the Prince de Conde, 
to whom he had always been a friend, a loyal and faithful cousin, 
for these things; and the Queen knew in what terms he had spoken 
of the Prince, whom he held in as high regard as any prince in 
the world. But it was well known that the Prince was led, and 
that the Sieurs de Chatillon had contrived this way to .kill him; 
however, he had never wished them ill until they had rebelled 
against the King. For this he called God to witness, and for love of 
God (since He commanded that one should forgive one's enemies) 
he forgave them the long-standing hatred that they had borne him, 
and the wrong they had done him in having him killed, and he 
not only forgave them, but loved them and thanked them because, 
by their means, he was taken away from the miseries of this world, 
from its sorrows and pains; he was content to die, and felt confident 
that he would find salvation, not by his own deeds but by the grace 
and mercy of God, who knew his heart and its purposes, and he 
prayed God to pardon his innumerable faults. 

"Then, though the King was not present, he spoke as if he were, 
and addressed his words to him: begging him to deal kindly with 
his subjects, to live in the religion of his ancestors, to recognize 


his servants, and watch over his people as a good father looks 
after his children and a good shepherd looks after his sheep, and 
to adhere to the virtue he had learned in youth, and to do all that 
becomes a king, in worthiness of the hopes conceived of him and 
of the lineage of the very Christian Kings of France. 

"Afterwards the Duke spoke to the Queen, who was present, 
and besought her to continue to educate her son, the King, as she 
had been doing, in all the virtues worthy of a prince who would 
one day have so many subjects to rule; and to give to his Kingdom 
what it needed peace without which he foresaw France broken 
asunder and in ruins, and to reform the vices of all classes, for 
those vices were the causes of the troubles and calamities that 
press upon us. 

"And finally he commended his wife and children to the King 
and Queen, recalled his services and begged the Queen to pardon 
the man who had killed him." 

This long interview with the Queen tired him and aggravated 
his fever. His brother, the Cardinal de Lorraine, counselled him to 
take the last rites of the Church. The Duke thanked him, and then 
stated his beliefs and hopes so piously that the Bishop of Riez says 
that neither he nor the other clergy had anything to add or to 
suggest. He then confessed, received absolution, heard mass, and 
then asked his wife and son to come close to hear his last admoni- 
tions. To his wife he said: "My dearly loved companion, you 
know that I have always loved and esteemed you as much as a 
woman can be, as I have always tried to make you see, and you 
have done the same to me, and our love has never waned in all 
our married life, each doing for the other all we could. I will not 
deny that the frailty and heedlessness of youth sometimes led me 
to things that might offend you; I beg you to excuse and forgive 
me. In this regard I am not the worst of sinners, nor among the 
least For the last three years, or more, you know with what .deep 
respect I have lived with you, not giving you a single occasion to 
feel the slightest discontent with me. ... 


"I leave the children God has given us to your care, and I beg 
you, by the inviolable love between us two, to be a good mother 
always and fulfill the serious duties you owe them, teaching them 
in all things to love and fear God, to obey His commandments and 
follow the ways of righteousness* Keep them loyal servants to the 
King and my kind lady, the Queen. . . . 

"Procure good tutors for them, who will ground them in good 
literature I mean in books beyond all reprehension and wise 
masters who will set them in the path of honorable men . . . and 
chiefly my son here, the eldest, who should be a guide and example 
to the other/' 

Then, turning to the young Prince, he said, "My son, you have 
heard how I have said to your mother that God has put you in 
my place. . * Therefore, my darling boy, keep the fear and love of 
God before your eyes and in your heart, walk in the straight and 
narrow path, abandoning the broad road to destruction. . . . Never 
let yourself be drawn into vicious company. . . . Never seek ad- 
vancement by bad means . . . wait for the honors that shall come 
from the generosity of your King to reward your services and hard 
work. Do not wish for great offices, for they are too difficult to 
manage, but in those to which God appoints you, put all your 
might, all your being, in order to perform your whole duty, to the 
honor of God and the satisfaction of your King. . . . And now, dear 
son, I commend your mother to your care. Honor her and obey 
her as God and nature ordain. . . . Love your brothers as if they 
were your children. . . . Keep united with them, for that is God's 
will and the knot of your strength. And I pray God to bestow 
His blessing upon you, as I do mine. 5 * 

Then he bade his brothers good-bye, and thanked them, and 
begged those about him to remind the Queen of his long and 
faithful service to the Crown, "You see," he said, "the state I am in 
by the act of a man who did not appreciate what he was doing, and 
I beg you to make a humble petition to the Queen to pardon him 
for the honor of God and love of me. If it is thought that he has 


committed an offense against the State, as to that I say nothing; 
but as far as concerns me as a private citizen, please beg her affec- 
tionately on my behalf that no harm be done him. And you, 
whoever you are, who were the instigator of his act, to you I am 
deeply indebted. I should be very ungrateful if I did not thank you, 
since by your means I am close to the hour in which I hope to go 
to my God and enjoy His presence. . . . 

"But it is time for me to think over the wrongs I have done. * . * 
I have sometimes been constrained to use extreme severity, as, in 
Lombardy, putting men to death for slight offenses, for stealing a 
loaf of bread or some lard a necessary severity in time of war, but 
always displeasing to God; and I am sorry for those and for similar 

offenses I have also counselled taking property belonging to 

the Church, but always for a worthy purpose, for the public good 
in time of need. 

"I have always wanted a beneficial reformation in the Church, 
so that she might the better honor and serve God, and I hope this 
will happen in Christendom, when those that undertake it shall 
be seen wearing the badge of true and loyal servants of God . . . 
and as to this last time when I took up arms, I call God to witness 
that I was not influenced by any private interest, nor ambition, nor 
revenge, but solely zeal for the honor of God and the true Faith. . . . 

"And I beseech you to believe that the sorry event at Vassy 
took place against my will, for I did not go there with any inten- 
tion of doing them any harm. I was on the defensive, not an ag- 
gressor. But when those with me saw me wounded, they lost their 
tempers and drew their swords. I did all I could to stop them and 
prevent the people from receiving unnecessary outrages. 

"I have deserved and striven in all possible ways for a satisfac- 
tory peace; the man who does not wish for it is neither a good 
man nor loyal to his King. Shame to him that does not wish it; I 
beg you to urge the Queen to make such a peace for the preserva- 
tion of her greatly afflicted Kingdom; for if this wretched state of 
things continues, no child will inherit his father's lands, nor any 


proprietor retain his own. If God grant no remedy, it would be 
better to go away and till the ground elsewhere. I feel compassion 
for those that come after me. It is true that peace is not in man's 
power, on account of arrogant wills and hardened hearts; it can 
only come to this poor Kingdom by the goodness of God!" He 
died the next day. Ash Wednesday, February 24, 1563. 

The Bishop of Riez in his narrative closes with these words: 
"And so this great man departed from us, leaving tears of sorrow in 
our eyes, and in our hearts the sweet, the infinite, comfort of the 
happy memory of his rare virtues and graces, so excellent that they 
will be celebrated in this world with praise everlasting/' 

The Catholics bewailed their loss: "It is the end of a Christian 
Prince/' "It is the end of a Roland," "It is the last of a Saint Louis 
from whom he is descended." In the camp, flags were lowered, 
pikes trailed, trumpets sounded funeral notes, and sighs and la- 
mentations were heard everywhere. On the other hand, the Prot- 
estants rejoiced. Poltrot was hailed as a new Brutus, a new Mutius 
Scaevola, the instrument of Divine Justice. In Orleans bells were 
rung and salvos of cannon fired. Coligny said, "We cannot deny 
the evident miracles of God," and an eminent English theologian, 
Bishop Jewel of Salisbury, wrote: "The death of the Guysian 
Pharaoh, which I have today heard of as an ascertained and un- 
doubted fact, has affected, believe me, my inmost heart and soul. 
It was so sudden, so opportune, so fortunate, and so far exceeding 
all our hopes and expectations." 

The historian De Thou, a boy of nine at the time, and well versed 
in the state of opinion of the period of which he is writing, says: 
"The Duke was, by the admission of his enemies, the greatest man 
of his time, worthy of all sorts of praises, from whatever side one 
looks at him. His consummate ability in war, joined to great good 
fortune, and his rare prudence in the management of affairs, would 
have made him regarded as born for the happiness and the adorn- 
ment of France, if he had lived in less stormy times, and in a con- 


juncture when the state was better governed. But the Kingdom 
was torn by faction, and this great man, as much distinguished by 
his virtue and his courage, as by his high birth, thought that he 
could lift himself higher than the condition of a private person, 
and, too docile to the counsels of Cardinal Charles de Lorraine, his 
brother, a man of ambitious and turbulent nature, although he 
sometimes neglected his advice, allowed himself to take, or to 
form, a party. Although, according to the laws of the Kingdom, 
he had no title that gave him the right to command armies, his 
rank, his dignities, his personal merit, and his brilliant qualities 
had won him so much reputation and authority that he was re- 
garded as absolute master in matters of war, as well as in the 



THE ASSASSIN was Jean Poltrot de Mere, a gentleman from the An- 
goumois, a province in the southwest of France, where there were 
many Huguenots. He had been bred as a page in the household of 
the Baron d'Aubeterre, but had passed much of his youth in Spain, 
and there had acquired the manner, the voice, the carriage, the 
look and the habits of the country to such a degree, besides being 
little and dark-skinned, that he was nicknamed The little Spaniard. 
When he returned to France he became an ardent Huguenot. M. 
d'Aubeterre, also a Huguenot, had himself been obliged to seek 
refuge in Geneva, where, in obedience to a law that every man 
should have a trade, noble or not, he became a button-maker. 
There Brantome (to his satisfaction) saw him very poor and 
wretched; afterwards d'Aubeterre had taken part in the Con- 
spiracy of Amboise and had been condemned to death, but the Due 
de Guise, at the instance of the Marechal de Saint-Andre, had 
procured his pardon. This favor of the Duke's, according to 
Brantome, he repaid by instigating Poltrot to kill him. D'Aube- 
terre also recommended Poltrot to his Protestant brother-in-law, 
M. de Soubise, governor of Lyons. Soubise also, it is said, en- 
couraged Poltrot to assassinate the Duke; at all events, after he had 
heard Poltrot boast that he was going to kill the Duke, he sent him 
with letters of recommendation to Coligny. 

The Admiral had need of spies, and Poltrot had already proved 
useful in that capacity. The Admiral talked to him, apparently 
explained what he wanted of him as a spy, and gave him twenty 



crowns, Poltrot then went to Orleans and succeeded in being 
presented to the Duke, to whom he said that he had discovered the 
abuses in the new religion and had quitted it, and he now wished 
to serve God and the King. "M. de Guise," Brantome says, "al- 
ways good, magnanimous and generous, received him very ami- 
ably, as was his wont, said he was right welcome, and bade the 
quartermaster take care of him, and often invited him to dine at 
his own table. Once I saw him come to dinner when we were 
half through; M. de Guise asked him if he had dined. He said, 
no, and the Duke bade a place be set for him." Poltrot seems to 
have learned what he could of the disposition of the army and of 
the Duke's plans, and to have gone back to Coligny, who was 
then on his way from Orleans to Normandy. 

Then came the suspicious interview. Coligny heard whatever 
he had to say, and gave him a hundred crowns to buy a fast 
horse. Poltrot returned to the Catholic camp; and on the fatal 
day, after lying in wait by the broken bridge, did the deed. He 
rode away fast, easily outstripping M. de Rostaing's mule, but it 
was dark and he lost his way in the woods, and, instead of going 
far, went round and round in a circle, and came on the village of 
Olivet, where the Duke's Swiss mercenaries were stationed. "Ho, 
wer da?" he heard; so he turned back, and rode about till eight 
o'clock the next morning; then to rest his horse he sought 
refuge in a little hut, and there his pursuers stumbled upon him. 

In the first interrogatories he accused the Admiral, as I have 
said. He persisted in the same story in two later examinations 
made at Paris, where he had been sent for trial, on February 27 
and March 7. Then the terrible sentence of being torn asunder 
by four horses was decreed by the Parlement de Paris. The poor 
creature changed his testimony, and asserted that Coligny was in- 
nocent; he was interrogated twice again, and again he said that 
he alone had conceived the murder, and that Coligny, Soubise, 
La Rochefoucauld and the others whom he had accused, were 
innocent. But again, when the cords were tied to his arms and 

POLTROT DE MfiRfi 171 

legs, he cried out that Soubise and the Admiral and d'Andelot 
approved of the plot. Poor devil! 

As to the Admiral's guilt, probably all Catholics believed in it, 
especially the Duke's widow, and his young son Henri, who was 
vowed to vengeance. The Huguenots, however greatly they re- 
joiced over Poltrot's deed, were fearful lest his accusation against 
the Admiral might make an unfavorable impression on the nation, 
and someone sent the Admiral a copy of Poltrot's depositions taken 
upon his first examination before the Queen, in order to give 
him the chance to deny the accusation categorically* I will cite 
several of Poltrot's assertions and the Admiral's answers: 

Deposition. Poltrot went to Orleans, then in the hands of the 
Huguenots, and there saw M. de Feuquieres the younger, and 
Captain Brion. These officers said that they knew he was a man 
of enterprise, and asked him if he would do a deed for the service 
of God and the honor of the King, for which he would be greatly 
praised; and as he was ready to listen, without further disclosure 
they bade him see the Admiral. 

Answer. Coligny admits that he saw Poltrot in January, and 
that Feuquieres said he had known Poltrot as a serviceable man, 
and that thereafter he, Coligny, employed Poltrot in the way that 
will appear hereafter. 

Deposition. Poltrot said that Feuquieres and Brion presented 
him to the Sieur de Chatillon (Coligny), who thereupon saw him 
alone in a cellar, and asked him if he was brave enough to go to 
the camp of M. de Guise, and kill him; and said that, in doing so, 
he would perform a meritorious action towards God and men. 
Poltrot said he had not courage enough, whereupon the Sieur de 
Chatillon bade him never to speak to anybody about the matter. 

Answer. This is a lie. And please remark that Poltrot speaks of 
the Sieur de Chatillon, whereas among the Huguenots he is always 


called the Admiral; that Poltrot makes him refer to the Camp of 
M. de Guise, in order to put a rebel phrase into his mouth, as the 
camp should be called the Camp of the King; and, third, that he 
makes the Admiral use the term "meritorious service" which Cal- 
vinists do not believe in, as all merit comes from the grace of God. 
Which mistakes show that the accusation is very suspicious. 

Deposition. The Seigneur de Chatillon wrote to M. de Soubise 
to send Poltrot to him. 

Answer. A denial; he did not know of Poltrot's existence then. 

Deposition. M. de Soubise sent Poltrot with a package to the 
Sieur de Chatillon, and he delivered it at Ville-Franche. 

Answer. True, but M. de Soubise did not write of any such 
plot; on the contrary, he asked to have Poltrot sent back to him, as 
he was in his employ. 

Deposition. Chatillon bade Poltrot go to Orleans and wait for 

Answer. I told him simply to go about his business. 

Deposition. At Orleans the Sieur de Chatillon again urged him 
to undertake this noble and honorable act for the service of God 
and the State; nevertheless, Poltrot hesitated, and then Theodore 
de Beze and another Huguenot clergyman came in and said he 
would be fortunate to carry his cross in this world, as Our Lord 
had carried His for our sakes, and if he died in so just a quarrel he 
would gain Paradise, Poltrot yielded, and they praised him, and 
said he was not the only one who had done such a deed, as there 
were many others who had undertaken similar labors. And the 
Sieur de Chatillon said there were more than fifty other gentlemen 
who had planned to do as much, and he gave him twenty crowns 
to go to M. de Guise. 

POLTROT DE MfiRfi 173 

Answer. This is all malicious invention, but in order to let it be 
known how he, Coligny, felt towards M. de Guise, he declares 
frankly that during the last commotions he had known that there 
were people who proposed to kill the said M. de Guise because of 
their hatred of him; but, so far from inducing or approving, he 
had dissuaded them, as Madame de Guise knew, for he had 
warned her both of time and place. But it was true that since the 
affair of Vassy, after they (the Huguenots) had taken up arms to 
defend the authority of the Edicts of the King, and defend the op- 
pressed poor against the violence of the said Guise and of his 
adherents, he had held them as public enemies of God, of the 
King, and of the quiet of the Kingdom, and had acted against 
them as such. But, on his honor, it will not be found that he 
approved of any such attempt on the Duke's person, until he had 
been duly notified that the Duke of Guise and the Marechal de 
Saint-Andre had suborned some men to kill the Prince de Conde, 
himself and M. d'Andelot, his brother as he formerly declared 
at length to the Queen, outside Paris, and to the Constable at Or- 
leans. Knowing that, he admitted that, since that time, when he 
heard anyone say that, if he could, he would kill the Duke of 
Guise, even in his camp, he did not turn him from his purpose; 
but on his honor he had not sought, induced nor solicited any man 
to do this, whether by words, by money, or by promises, of him- 
self or through others, directly or indirectly. And as to the twenty 
crowns mentioned before, he admitted it was true that on his last 
return to Orleans, about the end of last January, after M. de Feu- 
quieres had told him that he knew Poltrot for a serviceable man, 
he decided to employ him to learn news of the enemy's camp, and 
for that purpose he gave him twenty crowns, without saying any- 
thing further to him, and with no mention whatever of murdering 
M. de Guise. For, far from having such a plan, he would not have 
trusted Poltrot, for even on sending him to the royalist camp on 
the errand mentioned he was suspicious of him, as he said to M. 


de Grammont who happened to be present. Nevertheless he did 
send him for news of the enemy's camp. . . . 

At this point Theodore de Beze put in his denials. He had 
done no more than petition the King, the Queen, and the King of 
Navarre to punish the slaughter at Vassy by due course of justice; 
but since then, as the Guises and their faction had taken up arms, 
and right and justice were no more, he had done his best, by 
preaching, by letters and by word of mouth, to urge the Prince de 
Conde, the Admiral, and other lords and gentlemen followers of 
the Gospel, to uphold by all means the authority of the Edicts, and 
to use arms "en la plus grande modestie qu'il est possible" and 
(preserving the honor of God) try for peace, without letting them- 
selves be tricked. And as for the Due de Guise (for he always 
considered him the principal author and fosterer of these troubles), 
he admitted that he had infinitely desired and prayed God, either 
to change the said Guise's heart (which he had never been able to 
hope for) or to rid the Kingdom of him, but he had never spoken 
to Poltrot in person, nor through others, and had never known him 
in any way whatever. Nevertheless he recognized in it the just 
judgment of God, and a threat of similar or greater punishment 
upon all sworn enemies of His Holy Gospel, and those who were 
the cause of the misery in the Kingdom. And as to what Poltrot 
said about "carrying his cross," he, Beze, was not so ill prepared 
for his office, nor did he so misapply the Scripture, as to have said 
"carry his cross" and still less to say "that men gain Paradise? and 
so he sent all Poltrot's confession back to the shop where it was 

Deposition. Poltrot had afterwards reported to the Sieur de Cha- 
tillon at Orleans that the task was too difficult, as the Duke was 
always escorted; but Chatillon and Beze encouraged him, & he 
agreed to go ahead, and then Chatillon gave him a hundred crowns 
to buy a good horse, if his was not fast enough to save him after 
the deed was done. 

(Photograph by Giraudon) 

Jacques d'Albon, Marechal de Saint-Andre 

POLTROT DE MfiRfi 175 

Answer. Poltrot could not have seen the Admiral at Orleans, be- 
cause he was not there, having already gone to Normandy; and 
his brother d'Andelot was suspicious of Poltrot and suggested 
arresting him, but the Admiral thought he could secure news of 
Guise's camp through him, and in order to mount him better for 
the sake of speed gave him the hundred crowns. Besides, the 
Admiral remembers now that Poltrot came up to him to make his 
report, and said it would be easy to kill M. de Guise but the 
Admiral never dwelt on this matter, and never, on his honor, 
opened his mouth to incite him to undertake it. 

Deposition. (Poltrot tells how he had bought a Spanish horse, 
from a gentleman of the Duke's suite, in exchange for the hun- 
dred crowns and his own crop-eared nag that he had ridden before, 
and then recounts how he murdered the Duke.) 

Answer. The foregoing concerns Poltrot only, so I leave it to him; 
praising God nevertheless for his just judgment. 

Deposition. Poltrot then said he thought La Rochefoucauld privy 
to the plot, but not the Prince de Conde. 

Answer. The Admiral stigmatizes this as an attempt to sow dis- 
sension among the Huguenots. 

After more accusations and answers, the Admiral demanded to 
be confronted with Poltrot, and asked that his life be spared until 
then. And added, "Do not think that what I have said is out of 
regret for the death of the Due de Guise, for I think it is the greatest 
good that could happen to this Kingdom and to the Church of 
God, and particularly to me and my family, and also because, if 
it please Her Majesty the Queen, it will be the means of bringing 
peace" (Dated Caen, March 12, 1563.) 

The evidence rests there. The fleet horse is the only suspicious 
fact as to actual complicity. The Admiral appears, at best, in the 
light of an ingenious casuist: he was told that Poltrot planned to 


murder the Due de Guise, he neither did nor said anything to 
dissuade or divert him from his purpose, and he gave him a hun- 
dred crowns to buy a fleet horse. Henri, the new Due de Guise, 
always believed him to be a murderer and a liar. Bossuet (quoted 
by Vaissiere) remarked a hundred years later: "Nothing can be 
idler than what the Admiral says to excuse himself. He says that 
when Poltrot spoke to him about killing the Due de Guise, he, the 
Admiral, never opened his mouth to incite him to execute his 
purpose. There was no need to incite a man whose resolution 
had been so firmly taken; in order for him to accomplish his de- 
sign, all that was necessary was to do what the Admiral did, send 
him to the place where he could execute it. And the Admiral, not 
content with sending him there, gave him the money to get there 
and make the necessary preparations for such a plan, even to the 
point of mounting him well." 



As A matter of fact the Duke's death did facilitate peace, but not 
le ban paix that he desired. The motives that brought it about 
were not so pure as his. The Queen Mother wanted it because she 
dreaded a victory by either party and wished to get out of cap- 
tivity. So did the Prince de Conde, who had a special longing 
for liberty, as he was tired of his wife and admired one of the 
Queen's escadron volant, a flying squad of pretty ladies, "dressed 
like goddesses/' whom the Queen kept about her, not without a 
purpose. So peace was made, and its terms were embodied in the 
Edict of Amboise, March, 1563. By this Edict liberty of con- 
science was granted to the Protestants; nobles and landed gentry 
were allowed to worship within their houses, townsfolk only in 
one town per bailiwick, and the country folk were ignored. The 
Constable and Conde regained their freedom. The peace bene- 
fited the nobles, and nobody else; and an unsatisfactory peace is, 
as experience teaches us, of no great use. Besides, the vendetta 
between the families of Guise and Chatillon still threatened to 
revive civil war. The great mass of the people longed for peace; 
so the pressing matter was to settle the vendetta. But it seems a 
rule of universal application that a peaceful settlement of a pas- 
sionate quarrel hangs high on moonbeams out of human reach. 

Henri de Guise was in the first vehemence of adolescence, and 
every feeling, instinctive or acquired, of filial, family, tribal duty 
kept him brooding over revenge; and his mother, like Electra with 
Orestes, urged him on. Coligny, for his part, did not render a 
friendly settlement easy. He published a declaration that "the 



Duke was the one man in the enemy's army, whom he had 
searched for in the Battle of Dreux. ... If he could have aimed 
a cannon to kill him, he would have done so; if he had had ten 
thousand harquebusiers, he would have ordered them to shoot 
at him out from among all the others, whether in the open, or 
from over a wall, or behind a hedge. He would not have spared 
a single means, allowed by the laws of war, to rid himself, and 
many other loyal subjects of the King, of so great an enemy as he 
was." The Guises, on their part, clamored for justice; they asked 
that Coligny be tried by the Parlement de Paris, a tribunal pas- 
sionately devoted to the late Duke. The Prince de Conde con- 
tended that a less partial tribunal would be more likely to assuage 
private quarrels. The Queen, always temporizing, suggested that 
the Parlement and the Grand Conseil should sit together, discard- 
ing judges who were open to the suspicion of partisanship. A 
fourth plan was adopted. A decree was issued forbidding the 
friends of the Duke on the one side, and those of the Admiral on 
the other, from giving or taking offense with respect to the Duke's 
death, with a provision that the King himself, as the Huguenots 
objected to the Parlement de Paris and the Guisards to the Grand 
Conseil, would proceed to a judicial investigation, as soon as he 
had disposed of certain serious business. Nevertheless, one day as 
the King, a boy of twelve, issued from church, he was confronted 
by a long procession in funeral weeds the venerable Duchess 
Antoinette, mother of the murdered Duke, the Duchess of Guise, 
his widow, his brothers, d'Aumale, Elbeuf and the Cardinal de 
Guise, his cousin the Cardinal de Bourbon, and the Dukes of Mont- 
pensier, Longueville and Nemours, and a troop of friends, who 
besought him to allow them to proceed in the pursuit of justice, 
and free them from the ignominy of ingratitude, from the shame 
of breaking that duty which the laws of God, of Nature and of 
men, whether Christian or infidel, imposed upon them. The King 
replied, "I have heard it said that God causes kings to reign for the 
sake of justice," and gave them permission. But his prudent 


mother thought differently, and, after reflection, it was decided 
that for good and sufficient reasons the King would hold the 
matter in suspense for three years* This gave the young Duke time 
to grow up. 

Henry of Lorraine, now Due de Guise, was a son to delight a 
mother's heart and make a father proud. One day, just before 
the fatal tournament, King Henry II was dandling his little daugh- 
ter Margot in his lap, and seeing young Guise, a boy of nine, with 
his white skin and fair hair, and another boy, the little Marquis 
de Beaupre, playing together, asked her which of the two she liked 
the better. "I prefer the Marquis, he is gender and more sensible." 
"Oh," said her father, "but Guise is handsomer." "Yes," she an- 
swered, "but he is always in mischief, and wants to be the master 
in everything." Henry of Guise was a precocious boy. At the age 
of six or seven he wrote a letter to his father who was then cam- 
paigning in Italy: 

"I have been hearing some fine sermons that my uncle [the Car- 
dinal of Lorraine] preached at Reims, but I promise you I can't 
repeat them at length, because they were very long and I don't 
remember half. He made me wear his amice [a kind of ecclesias- 
tical collar] in his presence, and asked me if I did not want to be 
a canon at Reims. I told him I had much rather be with you to 
break a lance or a sword on some bold Spaniard or Burgundian, 
to show that I have a good arm, for I had rather fence and break 
lances than to be shut up all the time in an abbey and wear a 
gown, ... I have become pretty good. . . . You told Grandmother 
that I was obstinate, but Fossez [his hunting master] proves the 
contrary, for if I was, he wouldn't spare the birch." 

At the age of eight he was taught to shoulder a pike. The Mare- 
chal de Monluc recounts how he was with his battalion, and the 
officers in their places, when Henri de Guise and a cousin of his 
own age, both "beaux a merveilks" with their tutors and attend- 


ants came riding up on their ponies. He called out, "Hi! Hi! my 
little Princes get off, put foot to the ground; I was bred in 
the House from which you spring. I want to be the first to make 
you shoulder arms." The boys dismounted, and Monluc undid 
the ribbons on their shoulders and gave each a pike to carry, and 
said, "I hope God will grant you grace to resemble your fathers, 
and that I shall bring you good luck by being the first to make you 
shoulder arms. May God make you as valiant as you are hand- 
some." Then he made them march, side by side, pike on shoulder, 
up and down in front of the battalion, and everyone present in- 
dulged in happy predictions. 

A little older, he was sent to school at the College de Navarre, 
in Paris, together with Prince Henry, afterwards Henry III, and 
the Prince de Bearn, afterwards Henry IV; but not for long, since 
his father took him and his younger brother, the Marquis de 
Mayenne, on his campaigns during the summer after the capture 
of Calais. At the siege of Orleans, 1562, he had already given evi- 
dence of his sang-froid. He grew to be a tall, large, handsome 
young man, with a noble face, lively, attracting eyes, a calm fore- 
head surmounted by fair curly hair, and of a graceful carriage. His 
manners were very affable, and he had an engaging gift of speech, 
even eloquence, and when he wished could talk with great force 
and persuasiveness. In all bodily exercises he was beyond com- 
pare in strength and skill, whether at tennis, wrestling, fencing, 
or swimming, and so forth. He could put all his armor on and 
swim upstream against the current. His constitution was very 
strong; he could endure fatigue, want of sleep, or the presence of 
danger with amazing ease and fortitude. He was intelligent, high- 
minded, generous and early mature, of clear judgment, very clever 
in understanding people, with a great gift for business, and a power 
of rapid determination and action; he was also very ambitious for 
power and glory. He courted popularity, and won it. King Henry 
III asked, "What does the Due de Guise do, to charm everybody?" 
"Sire," answered the courtier, "he does kindness to everybody; 


if his benefactions are not given directly, they arrive indirectly; 
when he has not an opportunity to oblige by deeds, he obliges by 
words; there is no celebration that he does not attend, no baptism 
where he is not godfather, no funeral that he does not follow; he 
is courteous, friendly, open, he is nice to everybody, and speaks 
ill of no one; in short, he has the brilliant bearing of a king." 

At a- later period Agrippa d'Aubigne, the celebrated Huguenot, 
full of partisanship, wrote these ironical verses: 

Par tout je trouve un Due de Gum 
Si humble, si doux, si humain, 
Et si jamais je nc V advise 
Qu'il n'ait le bonnet a la main, 
S'il trouve un marchand par la rue, 
Le gueux, la vieille ou Partisan, 
Surtout un pretre f il les saLue 


Que je le pense bien connaitre: 
Ce matois -fait tout sur ma foi 
En serviteur pour etre maitre 
En valef pour devenir Roi. 

He's everywhere, this Duke of Guise, 
Humble and sweet, resolved to please, 
I always see him ride, or stand 
Barehead, with bonnet in his hand, 
To pass a huckster in the street, 
A beggar or an old woman, 
Or, it may be, an artisan, 
He ducks his bonnet to his feet, 
And, if a priest he chance to spy, 
His courtesies tenfold multiply, 


But in good truth, I know him now, 
This slyboots does all this, I trow, 
Serving, that he may master be 
And mount at last to Royalty. 


But even the satirical d'Aubigne says: "I put Henri de Guise in the 
rank of statesmen, if ever there were such." And Guez de Balzac 
(15944654) says: "France went crazy about this man; it is not 
enough to say she was in love with him . . . her passion bordered 
on idolatry. , . . Some people invoked him in their prayers, others 
put engravings of him in their breviaries. His picture was every- 
where; people ran after him in the street to touch his cloak with 
their beads. . . . Great crowds have been seen to subside at sight 
of his handsome face. No heart could withstand his countenance, 
he persuaded before opening his mouth, it was impossible in his 
presence not to wish him well. ... I have heard that a courtier of 
those days said that Huguenots, when they gazed at the Due de 
Guise, joined the League." 

On his father's death, at his father's dying request, the Queen 
appointed him, in his father's place, grand rnaitre and grand cham- 
bdlan, and captain of a company of men-at-arms, but during his 
young years his uncle d'Aumale was to act for him. 

The Queen having, as she hoped, pigeonholed the dangerous 
vendetta, conceived the plan of carrying the young King, who 
had lately attained his majority, on a long tour through the prov- 
inces of France, in the belief that his presence would arouse loyalty 
to the crown and help bring peace to the distracted land. The 
King's brother Henry was of the party, also young Henry of 
Navarre, as well as Henry of Guise. It was the second time that 
the three Henries found themselves together. The tour lasted for 
two years, but the most interesting part of it was the visit to 
Bayonne, very near the Spanish border, where they met Queen 
Elizabeth, Catherine's daughter, wife of Philip II, also the Duke 
of Alva and other Spanish grandees. There were great festivi- 
ties. De Thou speaks of "tourneys, balls and all sorts of diversions, 
given in order to display the wealth and power of France to a 
proud nation, and to oppose French vanity to Spanish ostentation. 
Pierre Ronsard, whom I am not afraid to call the greatest poet that 
has appeared since the Age of Augustus, was invited to the inter- 


view, and went with pleasure. He composed some noble verses 
which he recited, and today they are in everybody's hands, and 
are read with delight and admiration for the rare genius that com- 
posed them." But behind the curtain of these merrymakings there 
were very serious conversations as to the best method of extirpating 
heretics from France. Philip II felt himself as much interested as 
the King of France, for from France great moral support and con- 
siderable material help, in the way of arms, ammunitions, supplies 
and volunteers, went to the aid of the Protestants in the Low Coun- 
tries, who were not only heretics but also rebels against his author- 
ity. The Huguenots believed afterwards that Catherine and Alva 
had agreed on the massacre of St. Bartholomew. That is not just, 
there is no truth in it. The Due de Montpensier's confessor did say 
to the Duke of Alva that the quickest way to straighten matters 
would be to cut of? the heads of the Prince de Conde, the Admiral, 
d'Andelot, La Rochefoucauld and Grammont, but that was his 
own happy idea; the Duke of Alva denied making any suggestion 
of violence. The worst the Queen could have promised was to 
revoke the Edict of Amboise and to take measures to punish the 
heretics in her Kingdom; if she did make such a promise, she 
disregarded it. The chief effect of the interview was that the 
Protestants, "gens fort soupfonneux" naturally surmised that 
Catherine and Philip had concocted all sorts of deviltries against 
them. As a matter of fact, French and Spanish adventurers came to 
blows in America, and set the two governments by the ears. 

At any rate the Huguenots were becoming very restless, and 
when the Court had, on its tour, come back from Bayonne as far 
as Moulins, the Queen, apprehensive, as she had every reason to 
be, lest the vendetta between the Guises and the Chatillons should 
start civil war again, summoned the heads of the two factions and 
compelled them to shake hands and swear to mutual amity. The 
Admiral purged himself by oath from all guilt, and the King de- 
clared him innocent So Anne d'Este, the widowed Duchess, and 
the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Admiral went through the cere- 


mony of reconciliation. De Thou says Henri de Guise was there, 
and that his brilliant qualities and his father's virtues were appar- 
ent at once, and adds that by the expression of his face it was easy 
to see that, though he did not formally reject the reconciliation, 
he did not hold himself obliged to keep the articles agreed to by 
the others, and that when the occasion should present itself he 
would not be lacking in audacity or energy. But De Thou, prob- 
ably right about young Guise's feelings, was wrong about his 
presence at the meeting. At all events, whether his family had 
noticed such an expression on his face, and deemed it best to send 
him away for a while, or whether they wanted him to see the world, 
he had already gone with a company of young French nobles to 
join the Emperor, who was fighting against the Turks in Hun- 
gary. A letter to his stepfather, the Duke de Nemours, the paragon 
of charming but not Puritanical gentlemen, who had recently mar- 
ried the widowed Duchess of Guise, tells of his journey. He begs 
for a continuation of the Duke's kindness, and assures him he shall 
have no more obedient a son, and adds "I beseech you to excuse me 
for not writing with my own hand, for I arrived here very late, 
and must leave at three o'clock, as is necessary in travelling through 
a country like Savoy; we have already met two bears." 

From Savoy he journeyed by Augsburg and Ratisbon part of the 
way down the Danube, during which one of the attendant boats 
hit a rock, and two servants, a sailor and two horses were drowned, 
and reached Vienna on August 12, just as the Emperor was leaving 
for the front Henri was sixteen, but bore himself like a grown 
man. He begged the Emperor to excuse him for coming with so 
scant an escort, "but if Your Majesty will allow me to stay in 
Vienna seven or eight days, I hope with God's help to act with 
such diligence that I shall be able to return to your Majesty with 
such equipment as you will be content with, for I have come from 
France for the sole purpose of employing my life to do you some 
little service." All sorts of people of consequence came to pay their 
respects to him, and in Vienna the Spanish ambassador took him 


1 J 4' - > 




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f " 

" - i - 

: ,~ - ": - f *" ' ' 
-;-*.j.__, ; 'i ,7 ^_ ',' 



- 'SS 

(Photograph by Giraudon") 

The three Coligny brothers Cardinal Odet, the Admiial and D'Andelot 


about, to see the Empress, her daughters, and inspect ships and 
soldiers* Then, with his suite, well-mounted and armed, he re- 
turned to the Imperial camp- The Emperor was incompetent, and 
the Turks made gains; but the Sultan died, and, with winter 
coming on, military matters came to a halt. So Guise returned 
to Munich, where rumour began to whisper that this handsome 
young man was betrothed to the daughter of the Prince of Bavaria. 
But he wrote to his uncle, the Cardinal, that "he had seen well- 
bred young princesses, but as he had been at Munich so little time 
(five days) he had not had time to do them much homage, and 
he had no thought of marrying." So, he went home, having left a 
good impression "fort agr cable" and found everything in great 

The Protestants of the Low Countries were in revolt against 
Spain, and Philip sent the Duke of Alva from Milan, with an army, 
through Savoy and Franche-Comte to suppress them. The 
French Protestants were alarmed; they suspected that here were 
the first fruits of the colloquies at Bayonne, that this Spanish army 
was intended to attack them, and asked that six thousand Switzers 
be hired for defense in case of need. This was done; the Switzers 
were hired. Then, after Alva had marched past the French fron- 
tier into the Low Countries, they began to fear that the Queen 
Mother intended to use these very Switzers against them, and asked 
that they be dismissed, but the Constable, as General-in-Chief, re- 
fused; the Swiss had received their pay and he was going to keep 
them. Everybody got angry. D'Andelot, Colonel-General of in- 
fantry, was in a hufi because a Catholic marshal would not obey 
him. Conde asked to be made Lieutenant-General, but Henri of 
Anjou, the King's arrogant young brother, rudely interfered and 
said that that office belonged to him* Conde, in a rage, left the 
Court (July 11, 1567). Obviously civil war was close round the 

Meanwhile the Catholics, having seen what an advantage the 
opposing minority had had from their better organization, had 


begun to form little leagues, that might well, as time went on, 
coalesce in one great league. It was obviously better for the Hu- 
guenots not to wait, but to seize the benefit of the offensive, and 
they did. They also realized what an advantage possession of the 
King's person would be, and, remembering very well the precedent 
the Triumvirs had set them of kidnapping Francis II at Fontaine- 
bleau, they plotted to kidnap little King Charles. Straggling bands 
of Huguenots began to come up from all about. In this there was 
nothing alarming, for noblemen were in the habit of travelling 
with a retinue of armed retainers; nevertheless the Court, which 
had come to the Chateau of Montceaux, near Meaux, where the 
King liked to hunt, was sufficiently on its guard to send spies to 
Chatillon-Coligny (the Admiral's home), a little town in the 
Orleanais, a dozen miles northeast of Gien, to see what he was 
doing. They found him "Essigolant ses antes et une serpe dans la 
main" dressed in laboring clothes, clipping his trees with a prun- 
ing-hook and occupied in superintending the preparations for the 

Rumours of a plot drifted in; the Constable, with his usual saga- 
city, said it was nonsense, that not a hundred men could be 
gathered together without his knowing it. The Chancellor went 
further and threatened to hang such rumour-mongers. Then mes- 
sages came that a strong force of Huguenots were marching to- 
wards Lagny, between them and Paris, scarce a dozen miles away. 
The Court in hot haste took refuge in the fortress of Meaux, and 
summoned the Swiss mercenaries, who were stationed at Chateau- 
Thierry. With such an escort it seemed safe to march the twenty- 
five miles to Paris, and on September 28, 1567, they started. They 
set out before light, the Swiss, with their long pikes, formed in a 
hollow square, with the royal party, the carts and baggage in the 
center. At daybreak a troop of Huguenot cavalry appeared, with 
Conde at their head; he asked to speak to the King. No answer 
was vouchsafed; Conde rode back to the troop, and they ranged 
themselves for a charge "Us trouvoyent chose delicieuse de charger 


les Suisses" The Swiss fell into defense f ormation, tlie front rank 
on their knees, and presented bristling rows of pikes. The Hu- 
guenot horse, far fewer in numbers, were not clad in heavy armor, 
and a charge would have been worse than reckless. They rode 
alongside the King's army for several hours. After fording a little 
river the Constable felt easier, and the Court arrived safely at Le 
Bourget, where the Swiss encamped. The Due d'Aumale, with 
several hundred well-armed gentlemen, rode out from Paris to 
meet them, and escorted the King into the city, where he was 
received with acclamations. 

The King and his mother had been thoroughly frightened, and 
they were correspondingly angry; to make matters worse, news 
came from the provinces of more uprisings; Montereau, Orleans, 
Nimes, had been surprised and captured by the Huguenots. At 
Nimes the Protestants had collected priests, monks and Catholic 
notables in the court of the Bishop's palace, where they cut their 
throats and threw them into the well. Putting these incidents one 
side, the Huguenots announced their demands. They protested 
against the influence of the Guises and against the presence of the 
Swiss army; they demanded dismissal of the Italian financiers, 
Birague, Gondi and others, who had come to Paris in the train 
of Catherine de Medicis, and they demanded freedom of worship 
and convocation of the States-General. They asserted that the 
nobility and burgesses had a right to share in the government. 
The King answered by sending a herald to summon the rebels 
to surrender (October 7, 1567). To this Conde responded by an 
attempt to besiege Paris. Conde was, as usual, full of spirit, ready 
"to drink up Esil, eat a crocodile," and now with an available army 
of three thousand men, half horse, half foot, without cannon, he 
undertook to besiege Paris, garrisoned by an army of eighteen 
thousand foot, and three thousand horse, under the command of 
the valiant old Constable. 

After much hesitation the Catholics marched out to attack the 
besiegers on the plains between Paris and Saint-Denis, and opened 


with a cannonade. The Protestants charged. There was confused 
fighting in various places; here the Protestants gained, there the 
Catholics. Conde's horse was killed under him, while Coligny, 
mounted on a Turkish steed with a hard mouth, had the reins of 
his bridle cut, and the horse, uncontrollable, carried him headlong 
towards the city in the midst of a band of routed Catholics. For 
a time it was believed that he had been swept into Paris, and the 
Queen had a search made for him, but he had escaped. Un- 
doubtedly the Protestants would have been overwhelmed had not 
the Constable been killed. His battalion, attacked on three sides 
by Conde, the Cardinal of Chatillon and the Vidame de Chartres, 
ran away and left their general to his fate. A soldier of fortune, 
Robert Stuart, one of the Scotch mercenaries in the Huguenot 
army, rode up and bade him surrender. For answer the old man 
with the hilt of his sword smashed three of Stuart's teeth; then he 
was shot, but his friends rallied to his rescue, and carried him, with 
half a dozen wounds, into Paris. Montaigne comments: "The 
beauty and glory of his death, within the view of his King and of 
Paris, in their service, fighting, at the head of an army victorious 
because of his generalship, against his near kin, and in extreme old 
age, seems to me to deserve to be reckoned among the remarkable 
events of my time." 

The Constable's fatal wound halted the Royal army, and gave 
Conde time to withdraw his forces; he proceeded eastward to 
meet reinforcements, hired from the Palatinate. With twenty thou- 
sand men he marched back towards Paris. But both sides wanted 
peace. Catherine de Medicis realized that, with all his faults, the 
Constable was a great loss, and she grew more afraid of a Protes- 
tant victory; Conde had no money to pay his German mercenaries, 
and they might leave at any minute; and the Protestant noblemen 
had had their fill of fighting, and wanted to go home. So, on 
March 23, 1568, peace was again made; the Treaty of Longjumeau 
re-established the Edict of Amboise, just as it had been. The Hu- 
guenots had gained nothing. 


THE Edicts of Peace were little more than confessions of lassitude, 
and, after a breathing space, were soon ignored and forgotten. The 
attempt to kidnap the King, being unsuccessful, proved to have 
been a great tactical mistake; it removed the King and Queen 
from the position that the Queen had been struggling to main- 
tain, of impartial sovereignty above faction, put them definitely in 
that of partisan chiefs, and made the Catholic party incontestably 
the royal party. It also aroused the Catholics to fury. Pamphleteers 
raved against the Prince de Conde. For instance, one scribbler 
reported a contract between the Prince and the King: "Between 
Louis de Conde, styled of the House of Bourbon, Kong of Heretics, 
Prince of Robbers, Protector-General of murderers, brigands, out- 
laws, incendiaries, adulterers, forgers, and Standard-Bearer of 
Foreigners; together with Odet and Gaspard, called the Coligny 
brothers, their factors, deputies, representatives, accomplices and 
adherents, parties of the first part; and Charles of Valois, formerly 
King of France, at present King of Paris, Saint-Maur and the For- 
est of Vincennes, Captain and Doorkeeper of the Chateau du 
Louvre, and the Catholic People of France, parties of the second 
part. . . . Now, after hearing aU the Devils in Hell for the Parties 
of the first part . * . and God Almighty not being heard, nor called 
into consultation. ... It is decreed that the parties of the first part, 
their accomplices and adherents, for the damnation of their souls, 
are permitted to hold diabolical conventicles [etc, etc.]" 

The fury of the pamphlets was outdone by that of the deeds. 
D'Aubigne, the Huguenot historian, says that in three months the 



Catholics murdered ten thousand people. More than ever the 
words apply with which Seigneur de la Noue opens his book about 
these troubled times: "The Kingdom of France is going gradually 
downhill and will soon have a heavy fall, unless God in His sov- 
ereign goodness sustains it, and provide remedies to set her on her 
feet again, and we prove willing to use them." Each side com- 
plained bitterly of the other, and both with reason. The Catholics 
said that the Huguenots did not fulfill their promises, they did 
not surrender the fortresses they had seized, they would not let 
the King's governor enter La Rochelle, and that many of them 
went to the Netherlands to fight with the rebels against King 
Philip, King Charles's ally. The Protesants retorted that it was 
the Catholics who broke their agreements; they alleged that the 
Prince de Conde was in danger, that the Cardinal of Lorraine had 
bidden the King heed the Duke of Alva's saying, that the head 
of a salmon was worth the heads of fifty frogs, and that a new 
Spanish society, calling themselves Jesuits, were preaching that 
no man need keep faith with heretics, that it was a pious deed to 
kill them, and that all Christians should take up arms to extermi- 
nate them. 

And across the border the Duke of Alva was acting upon his 
saying, without, however, overlooking the frogs. In June, 1568, 
he cut off the heads of Egmont and Horn. Catherine de Medicis 
may have pondered over this action; also the Prince de Conde 
and Coligny. But Conde, always of a high and fiery spirit, did not 
hesitate to write the King a letter of grievances, and ended by 
saying that the lords and gentlemen of the Protestant religion, 
for the sake of preventing greater evils that threatened the King- 
dom, had resolved, by common consent, to make war against the 
Cardinal of Lorraine, and against him only, and that they re- 
garded him as an infamous priest, a tiger and a tyrant, and that 
they would always pursue his adherents and partisans as perjurers 
and brigands and violators of public faith in a word, as enemies 
of the peace of the Kingdom. This was saying a great deal, and 


prudence suggested that Conde had better get out of reach; so he re- 
tired to Noyen, a little town near Chatillon, and Coligny, likewise, 
repaired to a village near there. It was not long before Conde 
became aware of spies sneaking about; one was measuring the 
height of the town walls, and another counting the garrison and 
observing its methods of keeping watch* The Marechal de 
Tavannes, who had been ordered by the Queen to capture him, saw 
to it that mysterious communications came into his hands: "The 
hunt is afoot, the stag is in the toils." 

Conde waited no longer. He and Coligny fled incontinently; 
Conde had his wife, who was enceinte, and all his children, three 
of whom were in the cradle; Coligny had a grown-up daughter 
and several little children, some in the arms of nurses. D'Andelot's 
wife, who was with them, had a baby two years old. They hurried 
as fast as they could, and reached the river Loire in safety. The 
river is usually deep water still higher up; nevertheless in a few 
places it can be forded. One such ford was at Sancerre, and they 
crossed. Behind them the river suddenly swelled; and when their 
pursuers the next day arrived on the further bank it was not 
fordable, and dangerous for boats. They compared their escape to 
that of the Children of Israel crossing the Red Sea, knelt down 
and chanted the hymn: 

In exitu Israel de Egypto, domus Jacob 

de populo barbaro: 
Facia est Judaea sanctificatio ejus, 
Israel potestas ejus. 
Mare vidit et jugit: Jordanis 
Conversus est retrorsum. 
Montes exultaverunt ut arietes: 

et colles, sicut agni ovium. 

When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob 
from a people of strange language; 

Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his 


The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven 

The mountains skipped like rams, and the 

little hills like lambs* 

(Psalm 114) 

But this did not prevent them from remembering the wrongs the 
Catholics had done, and they robbed and pillaged as they went. 
At La Rochelle they were greeted with great demonstrations of 
joy, and there d'Andelot joined them, and the Queen of Navarre 
and her son Henry, aged sixteen. 

The coming of Henry of Navarre marks the full arrival of the 
third generation of our dramatis personae. Francois I, his sister 
Marguerite, and Claude of Guise were born respectively in 1494, 
1492 and 1496; their children, Henri II, Jeanne d'Albret, and 
Francois de Guise, in 1519, 1528 and 1519; and their grandchildren, 
Henry of Anjou, Henry of Navarre, and Henry of Guise, in 1551, 
1553 and 1550. This third generation now supersedes the second 
and usurps the stage. Henry of Anjou, his mother's darling, was, 
as Lieutenant-General, in nominal command of the royal army, 
and marched against La Rochelle. It is needless to go into details, 
but since there seems to be a tradition in the Protestant world that 
the Huguenots were Christians of an apostolic type, I will quote 
the reasonably impartial De Thou, who tells how the garrison of 
La Rochelle sallied forth and captured a Catholic town, Saint- 
Michel-en-l'Herme, a little fortress a dozen miles to the north. 
The conquerors "killed all they met, without distinction of sex 
or age; galleries, cellars, cisterns were so full of dead bodies that 
they spewed forth blood. A fellow named Forteau distinguished 
himself above the others; he amused himself with plunging his 
arm up to the elbow in the blood of these wretches, and, in order 
to prolong the pleasure of killing, with his own hand, in cold blood, 
he set aside one batch of victims for the morrow, and another for 
the day after. ... It is said that more than four hundred perished 
in this horrible butchery. Forteau was left in command of the 


town with the duty of destroying its fortifications, its church and 
monastery, . . * which task he performed thoroughly, spending 
a month over it." The Catholics gave tit for tat. When the Duke 
of Anjou took the Huguenot towns of Rufifec and Melle, he put 
the garrisons to the sword. 

No battle in the open took place till the following March. Henri 
de Guise, who was serving in the Catholic army, was growing very 
impatient. His stepfather, the Due de Nemours, was in command 
on the German frontier, and young Guise was doubtful as to 
whether he had not better have gone there; he was fretting to dis- 
tinguish himself. He wrote to the Duke, 

"I hate to stay in this useless place. The army is losing a great 
number of men, some go away sick, and some for their affairs, 
so, that unless something is done to remedy this, it will soon be 
very small. It is true that the same is happening to the enemy, 
their men are disbanding all the time. Nevertheless, I foresee that 
it will be a long time before we shall have much fighting here; 
we must wait till the men come back, and that may take some 
time. I shall be greatly grieved if you have a battle before us, at 
least unless I am with you. And if you overlook me I shall com- 
plain of you before God and the world, but you are really too fond 
of me to let me suffer such shame." 

However, fighting came his way. The Huguenot forces (as Guise 
said) had not completely reassembled since going into winter 
quarters, but Conde always wanted to fight, and Coligny held some 
dogmas common to military men, and believed "qu'il allait de son 
honneur" not to let the enemy advance farther without a battle; 
so, instead of waiting for all their men to come up, they went into 
battle by the river Charente, near the town of Jarnac, Henri de 
Guise acted rashly, and was nearly caught However, the Due 
d 5 Anjou, guided by the Marechal de Tavannes, won a complete 
victory (March 13, 1569). Coligny escaped, but the Prince de 


Conde was taken prisoner and killed. A little light of human 
feeling comes in the midst of their fratricidal strife. On the Prince's 
body various papers were f ound, one of which was a letter from his 
sister-in-law, Antoine's widow. It says, 

"You are good enough to tell me that my son [Henry of Navarre] 
is well. I am very glad, & I hope he will behave to you as if you 
were his father. I beg God . . . dear Brother,, to give you a long 

"Your servant, 


Stories differ, but that usually accepted says that the Prince sur- 
rendered on the promise of two officers that his life should be 
safe, but that a Captain Montesquieu, of the Due d'Anjou's Swiss 
guard, recognized him and shot him. The body was propped 
on a she-ass and led into Jarnac, and there laid huggermugger on 
a stone outside the Due d'Anjou's lodgings. It is said that young 
Guise told Anjou that Montesquiou should be disavowed and 
punished, so that a murder, committed in violation of military 
honor, could not be attributed to the King's brother. The Due 
d' Anjou was not so thin-skinned. A courier carrying news of the 
victory reached Metz, where the King was, at midnight; the King 
got out of bed and went, attended by all his Court, to the cathedral, 
where the Te Deum was sung, and he ordered a public thanks- 
giving throughout the Kingdom. And all the Catholic world re- 
joiced. Pope Pius V (April 15, 1569) wrote to the Due de Guise: 

"Since I have written to the King to congratulate him on the vic- 
tory achieved by his arms over the enemies of religion, I do not wish 
to omit to compliment you, also, on the great courage you showed 
in the battle, and on your attachment to the Catholic religion. * . . 
I should have liked to send you a present, were I not hard pressed 

(Photograph by Giraudon) 

Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Conde 


for money, but in recompence you will receive celestial favors, in 
comparison with which all earthly favors are as nothing." 

Nevertheless young Guise he was barely nineteen had by no 
means had his fill of fighting. Two months were hardly up when 
we find him again writing to his stepfather: 

"I am mighty vexed to hear that you are so near the enemy, with- 
out my having the luck to be with you to take my share in the noble 
exploits that will present themselves. But, though the Due d'Anjou 
time and time again has refused me leave to go, I shall importune 
him so much that he must allow me, and then I shall make such 
speed that the game won't be played without me, for I am sure 
you would be as much displeased as I myself, if I were to lose a 
sight so necessary to me as this coming battle, which I pray Our 
Lord to make you win (May 7, 1569)." 

In the meantime Coligny had collected the scattered remnants 
of the Huguenot army at Cognac, and there the intrepid Queen 
of Navarre joined them and presented her son, Henry, now sixteen, 
as tutelar Commander-in-chief, though of course Coligny had full 
power. Having secured a force of German mercenaries, he was 
able again to make head against the enemy. At La Roche-FAbeille, 
some sixteen miles south of Limoges, he won a victory. Few pris- 
oners were made. The Huguenot soldiers, according to their own 
historian, d'Aubigne, behaved "like devils incarnate," they mur- 
dered the Catholic peasants by hundreds, and in one chateau 
massacred two hundred and sixty persons in cold blood. 

Such were some of the incidents unexpectedly arising from 
differences of opinion concerning the Christian creed. 



THE town of Poitiers lies on a hill and along its slopes. It is some- 
thing more than a mile long, and roughly, very roughly, of the 
shape of South America, with a great Grecian bend to the east. 
The hypotenuse of this triangle, the western side, is well protected 
by a little river the Boivre and a marsh; the two other sides of 
the triangle, the northeastern and southeastern, are bordered by 
the little river Clain, which flows northward to join the Loire. 
The city was girdled round with walls and towers (you can still 
see a bit of the old ramparts at the southern corner of the town, 
with its tower, the Tour a TOiseau) ; and within the circuit of the 
walls, hard by the river Clain, there were vineyards and gardens on 
the low ground before you came to the steep rise of the hill 
Poitiers is a charming town, as every tourist knows, full of monu- 
ments historiqueSj all touched with beauty, charm and the tender 
graces of ancientry, Notre-Dame-la-Grande stood in the middle 
of the city, in all its Romanesque finery, of sculptured and arcaded 
facade, and, within, of pillars with storied capitals and solemn 
arches that seem to stoop to catch whispered prayers and speed 
them in echoes upward. Near by was the palace, sacred because 
once Joan of Arc was there. Down toward the jutty of the Grecian 
bend come first the Cathedral, built by Henry II of England 
and Eleanor of Aquitaine, with the great twelfth-century window 
of the Crucifixion; then the immemorial Baptistery of Saint-Jean, 
and near the Clain, in the apex of the bend, the lovely and lovable 
Church of Sainte-Radegonde, dedicated to the wife of some old 
Merovingian King and patron saint of the city. And, finally, Saint- 



Hilaire, with its series of aisles on either side of the nave and its 
great bell tower, said to have been built in the time of Charlemagne, 
lies towards the sharp southern angle of the town. Poitiers was a 
rich city, situated on the great highway that came up from Bor- 
deaux and ran on to Tours, Orleans and Paris; its venerable relics 
had attracted many pilgrims there, and its university was nearly 
a hundred and fifty years old* 

Coligny, strong for the moment in his German mercenaries, 
decided, perhaps reluctantly, for there were military reasons against 
it, to attack the city; he needed money to pay his soldiers, and the 
riches there would come in handy. The inhabitants had already 
had experience of Huguenot occupations, and were resolved to de- 
fend themselves against another to the utmost. In 1562 the Hu- 
guenots had captured the city; they pillaged the Cathedral, defaced 
or destroyed the rood loft, the organ, the fonts and ironwork; 
they pillaged the church of Sainte-Radegonde, broke open her 
tomb and burnt her body; they sacked the abbey of Samt-Hilaire, 
stole the bell, destroyed the holy relics, and, collecting all the sacred 
ecclesiastical vessels they could, pyxes, chalices, reliquaries, and so 
forth, melted them down. And only a short time before, the town 
had received another visit from the sectistes cdviniens, and the 
townsfolk prayed that that should be the last. The Commandant, 
the Comte de Lude, had a small garrison of regular soldiers. and 
several thousand citizen militia, together with a few hundred 
horse, but too few to defend so wide a circuit of walls. However, 
young Guise, who had been chafing at inaction, as soon as he heard 
that Coligny meant to attack the town hurried there, accompanied 
by his brother, Mayenne, a tall lad of fifteen, and by a band of 
young nobles, with mouth-filling names Rene de Rochechouart 
Mortemar, Paul Chabot de Clairvaux, Philippe de Chateaubriant, 
Seigneur des Roches-Baritault, Guillaume de Hautemer, Frangois 
de Casillac de Cessac, and such. The citizens were greatly cheered 
by their arrival, for Henri de Guise, in spite of his youth, owing 
to his father's reputation and his own deserts, was already highly 


thought of. At once all possible preparations of defence were 
made, bridges were cut, walls repaired, bastions strengthened, 
swords sharpened and a double line of trenches dug within the 
eastern wall in the plain on the hill side of the vineyards. Even the 
priests took part; harquebuses and morions were served out to the 
canons of Saint-Hilaire and of the Cathedral, and they did sentry 
duty, sword on thigh. 

The investment of the city took place on July 25 (1569). The 
Admiral made his headquarters at Saint-Benoit a few miles to the 
south, and had his cannon in place by August 1. He then began 
a steady cannonade, first at one part of the walls, then at another, 
trying to find a weak spot. Finally a breach was made on the east 
side, by the river Clain, and the besiegers, thinking they could enter 
if they were once across the river, set to work to construct a bridge, 
confident of victory. There was great alarm in the town. At a 
council of war, many officers were of opinion that the two Princes, 
Guise and Mayenne, young men of such great importance, should 
not be exposed to capture by their mortal enemies, and ought to 
be smuggled out of the town; others, among them the Command- 
ant, held that the presence of the Due de Guise would remind the 
garrison of his father's defense of Metz, and encourage them 
mightily, whereas if he left, everybody would be depressed and not 
a man fight with the same vigor. The Duke, hearing of the debate, 
speedily decided it; he was going to stay; not to save his life would 
he falsify the good opinion that nobles and commons had of him, 
or let any man say that he cared more for his life than for the honor 
of his father, of his house and himself. Inwardly he rejoiced to be 
fighting the man whom he regarded as his father's murderer. He 
took command of the soldiers who had been stationed at the 
trenches to repel the enemy after they had entered by the breach. 
They awaited the attack, arms in hand; however, Coligny sus- 
pected that the bridge to cross the Clain was not strong enough, 
and postponed the assault. That night some Italian divers among 
the garrison dived into the river and cut the cables that held the 


bridge; and danger from that quarter was for the time removed. 

Again the cannonade was heavy and new breaches made. The 
garrison, fearing that Coligny's bridge might now be ready for 
a renewed attack, succeeded in damming the river and flooding the 
low ground on the east of the town. The water was too deep for 
the assailants to ford it, so they were again delayed until they could 
build portable bridges. That night Guise joined the sappers, 
handled a shovel, carried a hod, and urged every man to redouble 
his efforts, and they succeeded in repairing the breaches and pre- 
venting another attack there. The besiegers then tried to break the 
dam, but sallies from the city, in which the Guises were prominent; 
blocked every attempt The attack then shifted to the north end 
of the town, the faubourg of Rochereuil; the Huguenots captured 
a tower, from which their musketeers commanded the lower 
town. To meet this danger the garrison built covered passages to 
enable the soldiers to reach the trenches in safety. 

The hard pressed city was now cheered by news that the Due 
d'Anjou was raising an army to go to its rescue. However, it was 
apparent that Coligny was determined to make a further effort 
to carry the defenses before Anjou's army should have time to come 
up. The attack came from the advantageous position of the cap- 
tured tower at Rochereuil, but the garrison beat them back; 
d'Aubigne says that a large troop of ladies on horseback, with 
plumes in their bonnets, rode out from the upper town to watch 
and encourage their gallant defenders. Still there was danger 
from further assaults, and the Due de Guise and the Comte de 
Lude placed all the ladies in the castle, so that in case the breaches 
were carried they might escape the first fury of the victorious 

But, meanwhile, an enemy within the walls began to threaten 
to be as dangerous as the Huguenot army without. The food supply 
gave out, famine stared them in the face, and everything depended 
on the speed with which Anjou could bring succour. The flour 
mills had been shot to pieces; the horses were fed on grape leaves, 


for their oats were needed for the soldiers, and many were killed 
for food; but horses so long as possible had to be spared, and when 
fresh straw gave out they were given the straw in mattresses, and 
then straw mattings from the houses of the rich. The citizens 
buckled in their belts. They expelled all useless mouths, old men, 
women and children, from the city, but the besiegers would not 
let them pass, and the Duke allowed them to come back. Every 
green plant was eaten, and rats and mice. All these details are 
uncertain, for legend very soon cast its golden mists over the 

At last relief came; the Due d'Anjou had gathered together his 
army, and had attacked the Huguenot town of Chatellerault, and 
Coligny, hearing that a breach had been made in its walls, with- 
drew his army from Poitiers to go to the rescue (September 7). 
The siege had lasted seven weeks. Young Guise won golden re- 
pute. La Noue, the Huguenot captain, says that many people 
thought the defense of Poitiers as great a feat as that of Metz by 
his father. The citizens overflowed with gratitude, and he, in re- 
turn, praised their courage and steadfastness, assured them of his 
friendship and promised his protection. It must have been pleas- 
ant to him to have repulsed Coligny. The day after the siege was 
raised, devout religious services were held; in a great procession 
through the streets to the church of Saint-Hilaire, the Duke and 
three others, barehead, carried a canopy over the host. Then the 
preacher in his sermon, in spite of the fact that Guise had par- 
ticularly asked him not to mention his name, gave to the Duke, 
after God and His saints, all the honor of the city's deliverance, 
and expatiated on how his great father's virtues had descended to 
the son. The Duke was exceedingly vexed, but the preacher said 
he could not help it. 

That same day the Duke left the city, bidding the Commandant 
have an eye on the Huguenots in the city to see that they did no 
harm, and, if they behaved properly (modestement), not to dis- 
turb them. He then went to Tours to see the King, who greeted 


him warmly and rewarded him by admitting him a member of his 
inner Council. Poets, populace, and the Queen Mother praised 
him. At nineteen, Henri de Guise had outstripped his grand- 
father and his father at the same age. 

He then joined Anjou's army, and took part at the battle of 
Moncontour, halfway between Saumur and Poitiers, where the 
Admiral was completely defeated (October 3, 1569). If the victors 
had understood the military wisdom of destroying the remnant of 
the mobile army and capturing Coligny, they might have ended 
the war, and put down the Huguenot rebels once for all. But 
they stopped to lay siege to Saint Jean-d'Angdy, an unimportant 
town, and Coligny, whose spirit never showed its brilliant qualities 
till in defeat, taking young Henry of Navarre, slipped southward 
where the Huguenots were in power and made a famous retreat, 
past Toulouse, Carcassonne, Montpellier, and up northward again 
as far as Charite-sur-Loire, a little town visited by tourists on ac- 
count of the remains of a glorious Romanesque abbey. It was now 
the beginning of the summer of 1570, and various circumstances 
turned to the advantage of the Huguenots. Most of all, the country 
needed peace, for it was in a wretched condition. An Englishman 

"The face of ffraunce is lamentable at this season, the meaner sub- 
jects spoiled everywhere, and the greater neither sure of life nor 
lyvinge in any place, whereby murther is no crueltie, nor dis- 
obedyence any offence, bathing one in another's blood, makinge it 
custome to dispise religion and justice, or any more sacred bond, 
either of devyne or humayne constitution. Where the victorer 
maybe bewaile his victorie, and the naturall lastlie in dainger to be 
over rune by the stranger whome he provides nowe for his defence. 
Havinge consumed the store of the laste yere and wastinge that on 
the ground which should serve for the yere to come, so as a present 
desperacion and a piteous mournynge doth invade every sorte, as 
though their calamyties shold have none end, but with the ende of 


their lives togeather. And that withall the dreadfullest cruelties at 
once of the world, plague, honger, and the sword, which god of his 
goodnes cease in them, and preserve from us; and to this is joyned 
an incredible obstinacye of either side, even hardenynge their harts 
with malice and furye to th' utter extermynacion one of another." 
(Quoted from A. W. Whitehead's Gaspard de Coligny.) 

The Guises and their adherents were the main supporters of 
the war party. The Parlement de Paris, always devoted to them, 
set a reward of fifty thousand crowns on Coligny's head, dead or 
alive. But most people began to tire, and turned their thoughts to 
peace. There was much jealousy of the Guises, and the envious 
spoke harshly of the Cardinal of Lorraine. Besides, a neutral party 
was growing in number; some were shocked by the cruelties prac- 
tised on the Huguenots, and advocated a treatment more like 
that enjoined by the Gospels; some were alienated by the close 
relations between the Guise faction and the King of Spain; others, 
like the Marechal de Montmorency, were influenced by jealousy 
of the brilliant and successful Guises; and there were> also, as the 
Huguenot La Noue says, Its mccontents de toutes les opinions. 
This party was called les Politiques, and it threw its influence for 
peace. But perhaps the strongest argument was a victory won by 
Coligny at Arnay-le-Duc, which made Catherine fear that the 
Huguenots might march on Paris. 

A personal incident also, it is said, turned the royal family 
against the Guises. Henri had flirted with a young widow, Cather- 
ine of Cleves, who had been brought up in his grandmother's 
castle at Joinville. This lady, still a girl, had married the Prince 
de Porcien, but he had not lived long, and young Guise, hand- 
some, athletic, crowned with laurels, was a very attractive man. 
But his thoughts were set on ambition, and his scheming uncles, 
the Cardinals of Lorraine and Guise, proposed that he should 
lift his eyes higher and woo Margot, the King's sister. This young 
lady was gay, vivacious, handsome, well educated, and by no means 


shy, and, forgetful of her childish criticism of him, she cast a kindly 
eye at the charming young man. It was true that there was a 
belief abroad that she was destined to Henry of Navarre, who was 
a Icing in his own right, but the Cardinals proposed instead to have 
Navarre marry a daughter of the Duke of Lorraine; and why 
should the King's sister not marry a Guise? A King of Scotland 
had married their aunt, and a King of France had married their 
niece. The Spanish ambassador wrote to King Philip, "There is 
nothing talked of in France now except the report of the marriage 
of Madame Marguerite to the Due de Guise.' 5 The Cardinal of 
Lorraine was so eager for this match that he was ready to give a 
large sum of money to his nephew. It was then that Henri of 
Anjou revealed his perfidious nature. He was jealous of the bril- 
liant Duke and did not propose to have him rise higher. 

But I will give you Margot's version of the story; she tells it in 
this way. She went with her mother to join the Due d'Anjou, 
who after the victory at Moncontour was besieging the town of 
Saint-Jean-d'Angely, and found her brother very much altered in 
his disposition towards her. He had come under the spell of M. 
de Guast, who was an attractive rascal and had taught the Prince 
various Machiavellian doctrines, to care for nobody but himself, 
and not to let anybody whatever, even brother or sister, share his 
good fortune. His mother told him how fond Margot was of him 
and how she had done all she could for him to which he re- 
sponded coldly, saying a person might be useful at one time, and 
harmful at another. His mother asked him why he said that* 

He thought this a good opportunity to put into execution his 
purpose to do his sister harm. So he said that she was becoming 
very pretty, and that M. de Guise was making up to her, that the 
Duke's uncles wished him to marry her, and that she was falling 
in love with the Duke, and that it would be likely she would tell 
him whatever Anjou said to her. Her mother knew, he said, how 
ambitious the House of Guise was, how it had always tried to 
thwart the House of Valois, and he advised her not to speak any 


more to Margot about public matters, and to withdraw from any 
intimacy with her. That very day her mother's manner to her 
changed. Margot asked the reason, and after much solicitation 
the story came out. Catherine said Anjou was intelligent, and 
was right, and bade Margot not to speak to the Duke in Anjou's 
presence. Margot represented her innocence: she had never heard 
of this matter, and if the Duke entertained such an idea and should 
speak to her of it, she would tell her mother immediately, but she 
could never forgive her brother for coming between her and her 
mother. At this Catherine lost her temper, and told Margot not 
to let her ill will to Anjou be seen for Catherine idolized Anjou. 
Then it happened that, being sick, Margot went to Angers, and 
there she found M. de Guise and his uncles, and Anjou took ad- 
vantage of their presence to play her a wicked trick. He brought 
Guise to her room, pretended to be fond of him, embraced him, 
and kept saying, "Would to goodness you were my brother!" 
M. de Guise pretended not to understand, but Margot was furious 
with him. Soon after this scene a marriage with the King of 
Portugal was brought on the carpet, but Anjou told his mother that 
Margot was averse to it. This Margot denied, and said she had 
no will but her mother's. Catherine, played on by Anjou's wiles, 
grew angry, said that that was not true, that she knew very well 
that the Cardinal of Lorraine had persuaded Margot to prefer 
his nephew. Margot adds that she had no peace whatever; on the 
one hand the King of Spain prevented the Portugese marriage, 
and on the other the presence of the Due de Guise at Court always 
supplied a pretext for them to persecute her, although neither the 
Duke, nor any of his relations, had ever spoken to her of a mar- 
riage, and for over a year the Duke had been paying his addresses 
to the Princesse de Porcien. 

Margot, it is feared, had no very great predilection for truth. 
Gossip embroiders variations on her story. Ambassadors nosed 
about, and picked up what surmises they could. It is said that 
Margot liked the Duke of Guise, and encouraged him underhand. 


Though forbidden by etiquette to write directly to the Duke, she 
added a few lines of her own to a letter written to him by one of 
her ladies-in-waiting. This letter was intercepted. The Queen 
Mother was furious. She sent for the Cardinal de Lorraine and 
bade him deny absolutely any suggestion of such an engagement; 
and the Due de Guise was forbidden to see Margot. The King 
he, too, jealous of the House of Guise went to his mother's room 
at five o'clock in the morning. They sent for Margot, scolded her 
and beat hen And at a royal ball, when Guise entered in his rich 
garments sparkling with jewels, which, Davila says, increased the 
nobleness of his aspect, the King met him at the door and asked 
him where he was going. "I am come to serve Your Majesty/ 5 he 
said. The King replied drily that he had no need of the Duke's 
services. The Due d'Anjou went further, and swore that if Guise 
lifted his eyes to Margot, he would murder him. 

So, taking one thing with another, Catherine was quite ready 
to give the Huguenots good terms. The Edict of Saint-Germain 
(August 8, 1570) granted them "the broadest and most substantial 
privileges the Huguenots had yet received." That autumn Henri 
de Guise married Catherine of Cleves, the Princess of Porcien, and 
was restored to the King's good graces. 


THE Huguenots, though worsted again and again, had received 
better terms than before. And all the credit was due to one man. 
Admiral Coligny stood out as the foremost man in France. A 
Venetian wrote: 

"No one in these wars has been more talked about, or made his 
influence more felt, than the Admiral And the astonishing thing 
is that, whereas he did nothing worthy of praise when serving the 
King in the wars against Spain, in these wars against him he has 
won a very great reputation and made himself much feared. It 
is astonishing, too, that he, a private gentleman, of little means, 
has sustained so long and hard a struggle, not only against the 
whole might of his own sovereign, but also against all the help 
the latter has had from Spain, from many princes in Italy and 
some in Germany. And the wonder grows when we remember 
that though he has lost many battles, he has preserved his reputa- 
tion through it all" (Quoted by Whitehead, p. 232.) 

It was character, a mixture of courage, simplicity, steadfastness, 
sang-froid, forethought and a canny quality, that enabled him to 
triumph in this fashion. He had no real military talents, he had 
been beaten at Dreux, at Saint-Denis, at Jarnac, at Poitiers, at Mon- 
contour, and yet his resolute refusal to throw up the sponge, even 
in most dismal circumstances, had forced the Catholics to con- 
cede more liberal terms than at any time before. He had achieved 
a great moral victory. He hated civil war; and now that peace had 



been made, his thoughts were concentrated on how he could pre- 
serve the Protestant religion in France and avoid any further 
fighting of Frenchmen against Frenchmen. The political situation 
offered him a plan* 

Spain was the greatest power in Europe, and Philip II, a slow, 
deliberate, conscientious man who believed with all his heart in 
autocracy and in the orthodox creed, was dedicating himself to the 
maintenance of his principles. He had been very wroth with the 
Protestants in the Netherlands, and had punished them as heretics 
and rebels. He had cut off the heads of Egmont and Horn, and 
hoped still to cut off that of William of Orange. The Duke of 
Alva, an accomplished soldier, who fully shared his master's views, 
had crushed the rebellion with what seemed to Protestants great 
cruelty. Nevertheless, thousands and thousands of people in the 
Netherlands were living in the hope of another uprising, and 
William of Orange was busily seeking allies. He and Coligny 
thought alike. Their plan was to persuade France (for King, and 
Catholics generally, resented King Philip's bullying attitude) to 
unite with England, with the Protestant princes of Germany, and 
the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and drive the Spaniards out of the 
Netherlands. Coligny believed that war against Spain would excite 
such patriotic fervor in France that Huguenot and Catholic, for- 
getting their mutual animosities, would fight side by side, and 
learn to live in peace, each following his conscience in religious 
matters. The Prince of Orange's brother, Louis of Nassau, was also 
on fire with the plan. He was confident that the people of the 
Netherlands would rise as soon as help was in sight; and Coligny 
was equally sure that he could raise an army of French Huguenots, 
eager to fight on behalf of their fellow Protestants. So sure he was, 
so full of hope, that he asked permission to put his head in the 
lion's den, to go to Court. 

This act was perhaps not so rash as it seems to us, as we look 
back on Saint Bartholomew's day. Charles IX was mightily in- 
dignant at the Spanish King's frequently repeated assumptions of 


superiority for instance, Philip had pushed Charles aside and mar- 
ried the elder of the Austrian Archduchesses, leaving the younger, 
Elizabeth, for Charles, and would not allow the French betrothal 
to be signed until a quarter of an hour after his own and he lent 
a ready ear to Prince Louis's appeals, only he was afraid of his 
mother, Catherine, on her part, cared for three things: to benefit 
the Due d'Anjou, "the light of her eyes," to keep herself in power 
and to marry her children well. She was trying to marry Anjou 
to Queen Elizabeth of England, and a friendly attitude towards 
the Protestant rebels in the Netherlands would certainly help that 
plan; but, on the other hand, she was afraid of the power of King 
Philip and dared not anger him. And she disliked and distrusted 
Coligny. She never forgot her fright when the Huguenots tried 
to kidnap the King and herself at Meaux, and she did not wish 
him to acquire an influence over the impressionable King. How- 
ever, she consented to an interview, and the Admiral went to the 
Chateau of Blois, to the Queen's room, whfflte the royal family 
awaited him (September 15, 1571). 

The accounts of the interview differ somewhat. One says that 
both the King, at this time twenty-two, and the Admiral, turned 
pale, that the Queen Mother received him graciously but that 
when he advanced to kiss the young Queen's hand she flushed, 
drew back and would not permit him. De Thou says that Coligny 
knelt to the King, who lifted him up, calling him "Mon fere" 
said that to have peace solidly confirmed by the Admiral's return to 
Court made this the happiest day of his life, and added with a 
smile, "Now, at last, we have you, and shall keep you, and you 
will not depart from us any more." Whatever the truth may be, 
there were those who suspected that the Queen Mother had in- 
vited the Admiral to Blois in order to kill him. The Florentine 
envoy wrote (November 28, 1571), "The Pope believes that the 
Peace of Saint-Germain was made, and the Admiral invited to 
Blois, with the secret intention of killing him." And Philip II 
said concerning the invitation (September, 1571), "That can only 


be with the purpose of getting rid of that abominable man, and it 
will be a most honorable and meritorious act." 

After the embarrassment of the first meeting was over, the King 
and the Admiral saw one another frequently, became friendly 
and intimate, and the past seemed to be wholly forgotten. The 
King appeared to be won over to the anti-Spanish plan, though 
he still did not dare tell his mother; and the Admiral was very 
happy over the prospects. Events, at first, confirmed his hopes. 
A fleet of patriotic Dutch pirates swooped down on Brielle, a 
town on the coast of Holland, and hoisted the Prince of Orange's 
flag. Neighbor towns followed this example (April, 1572) ; Louis 
of Nassau seized Valenciennes and Mons. Coligny was delighted; 
he met Brantome at Saint-Cloud and said, "God be praised, we 
shall soon chase the Spaniards from the Netherlands and make our 
King the master there, or we shall die, and I the first; and I shall 
not complain to lose my life in so good a cause." 

So matters stood at the beginning of the summer, at the time 
when the Huguenot world was making ready to go to Paris for 
Henry of Navarre was to marry the King's youngest sister, Margot, 
and there was to be a grand wedding, and Huguenot and Catholic 
were to shake hands and kiss, the chasm would close, France be 
united, all would be merry as wedding bells, and brotherly love 
continue triumphant. On June 9 Queen Jeanne died. There were 
dark whispers as to what caused her death, but they were ignored, 
and preparations for the festivities went on apace. 

Coligny, obsessed by the idea that the main road, if not the 
only road, to religious reconciliation was a national union against 
Spain, pressed the Council to declare war, and he succeeded so 
far as to persuade the King to permit a levy of five thousand men 
among the Huguenots. The levy was made, and off the five 
thousand went to assist the Flemish rebels. The general, Genlis, 
perhaps was imprudent; the men were undisciplined, and plun- 
dered as they went; at all events, they were completely routed by 
the Spaniards, and those who escaped were killed by the peasants of 


the countryside. Nevertheless Coligny, always more resolute after 
defeat, pressed for open war, and offered to raise an army of 
twenty thousand Huguenots, and for a time it seemed likely that 
he would persuade the King. But the allies, whom Prince Louis 
of Nassau had too hopefully reckoned on, faded away; England 
did not propose to let the King of France, Protestantism or no 
Protestantism, become master of Flanders; the German Lutheran 
princes grew cool, the Turks refused to bind themselves, the Grand 
Duke of Tuscany was lending money at a high rate to the Duke 
of Alva, the Pope and the Seigniory of Venice counselled peace. 
But more potent was the opposition of the Queen Mother; she was 
frightened by the power of King Philip, triumphant at Lepanto, 
and threw her whole heart into preventing war- The King dared 
not assert his will against hers. Under her influence, and that of 
the Catholic leaders, the Council gave a definite decision against 
undertaking hostilities against Spain. Coligny said to the King, 
"Your Majesty will not take it ill, if, having promised the Prince 
of Orange to help him, I attempt to keep that promise," and, to 
the Queen Mother, "Madam, the King refuses to enter upon this 
war; please God that another does not come to him that he will 
not be able to refuse," And then, even after the King's denial, 
he decided to go ahead and prepared to raise twelve thousand 
harquebusiers and three thousand horse (August 11). 

It was no light matter. Such a course would certainly lead to 
war with Spain, and Catherine was convinced that Coligny would 
bring the King, herself and her darling, the Duke of Anjou, to 
ruin. Coligny was the embodiment of danger, and Catherine's 
mind must have harked back to King Philip's riddance of Egmont 
and Horn. 

Meantime the marriage of Henry of Navarre and Margot was 
drawing near, "a wonderful contrivance to strengthen the peace," 
De Thou says, "or the better to conceal the evil designs that were 
contemplated." He thought it possible that those evil designs were 


afoot at the time of the Peace of Saint-Germain. At any rate the 
surface was quiet. 

The Guises, who had withdrawn to their country-places on the 
King's recalling Coligny to court, professed to accept the King's 
acquittal of Coligny of all guilt in the assassination of Duke 
Francois, and came up to the wedding, but their hearts were not 
changed* There is nothing to show that Henry of Guise had any 
definite notion of revenge; he did not, however, entertain a doubt 
but that Coligny was guilty of his father's death, and he was 
equally convinced that it was morally obligatory upon him to take 
revenge, that it was a point of honor. A vendetta is a vendetta, and 
the Commandment "Thou shalt not kill" no more occurred to 
his mind as an obstacle to action than it does to a general in battle. 
Hamlet, that delicate-minded prince, felt a similar obligation and 
obeyed the voice of duty. You remember the vendetta in Marimee's 
Colomba, and that in Huckleberry Finn. The notion lies deep in 
ill-organized societies; the family of the murdered man must 
take revenge. Orestes knew it, and Henry of Guise was not the 
man to stain his honor by neglect or forgetfulness. Assassination 
was common enough among gentlemen. Only a short time before, 
Gharry, a maitre-de-camp, had been murdered on the Pont Saint- 
Michel by one of Andelot's officers; Lignerolles, a favorite of the 
Due d'Anjou, had been murdered by the Vicomte de la Guerche, 
at the instigation, it was believed, of the King. The Sieur de 
Maurevert had murdered M. de Mouy, a lieutenant to Coligny, 
and the Kong had rewarded him, as he himself tells in a letter to 
the Due d'Anjou: 

"Plessis les Tours, October 10, 1569. 
"Dear Brother, 

"In return for the signal service done me by Charles de Louvier, 
Seigneur de Maurevert, the bearer of this (the man who killed 
Mouy in the way he will tell you), I beg you to give him from me 


the collar of my Order [St. Michel], as he has been elected an 
associate by the members of that Order. And please see that the 
citizens of ma bonne ville de Paris gratify him with some nice 
present according to his deserts, I pray God, dear Brother, to have 
you in His holy keeping. 

"Your dear brother, 


When Henry de Guise had had the hardihood to make love to 
Margot, it was said that the King suborned his illegitimate brother, 
Henry of Angouleme, to murder him, and that Guise was only 
saved by transferring his attentions to Catherine of Cleves. When 
Jeanne d'Albret died, rumour said she had been poisoned by 
means of a pair of gloves. Private murder was by no means the 
disreputable act that it is now. The ambassador of Savoy reported 
that there had been fourteen unpunished murders in tttree 
months. These figures are small compared to our modern Ameri- 
can customs, but they concerned high society. 

All that we know of Henri de Guise's thoughts is his expressed 
wish that he be left alone in a room with the Admiral to settle 
their differences without the King's interference. Coligny, a man 
over fifty, probably regarded him as a boy and not dangerous, for, 
with the exception of the defence of Poitiers, his career he was 
still but twenty-twohad shown little but headlong valor. The 
Spanish ambassador reported that his courage was greater than 
his intelligence. The Admiral and the Duke used to meet in the 
palace of the Louvre, but they did not speak to one another. The 
King dropped remarks that, in the light of future events, were 
harshly interpreted; he told Guise he would not force him to 
greater friendship with Coligny than he wished, and bade 
d'Aumale be patient, for some day he would see good sport. At 
all events, Coligny now faced a more dangerous enemy than Henri 
de Guise; he confronted the Queen Mother. 


THE royal wedding was set for August 18, a Monday. The King 
wrote Coligny to be sure to come, and he directed the Prevot des 
Marchands to take measures that there should be no disturbance at 
his coming. He also published an ordinance that all persons, of 
what rank soever, were forbidden under pain of death to rake up 
the past, or give occasion to new quarrels, or carry firearms, or 
fight, or draw sword, especially in the neighborhood of the King, 
or in the city of Paris, or its faubourgs. Nevertheless, ordinances are 
but ordinances, and Coligny's friends were full of concern as to 
his going to Paris. At Chatillon, as he was about to mount his 
horse, a peasant woman, one of his cottagers, threw herself at his 
feet and clasped his knees, with tears and lamentations (Pierre de 
L'Etoile had the story from a man who saw it), and cried out: 
"O Sir, my good master, why are you going to your destruction? 
If you go to Paris I shall never see you again, for you will die and 
all who go with you. If you have no pity on us, at least have pity 
on your wife and your children, and on all those people who will 
perish there on your account." The Admiral put her aside; but 
she then flung herself at his wife's knees, begging her to prevent 
her husband from going, for she was sure that if he went he would 
not return, and that would be the cause of the death of ten 
thousand men. 
And one of the letters to the Admiral said: 

"Remember the maxim which the Papists accept as a religious 
dogma, a maxim confirmed by the authority of Catholic councils, 



No faith need be \ept with heretics, and they regard Protestants as 
heretics. Remember, too, that the hatred they bear to Protestants 
is eternal, on account of the harm done to the country by these late 
wars. There is no doubt but that the Queen's purpose is to exter- 
minate all Protestants at whatever cost. Remember that she is a 
foreigner, an Italian, of a papal family (and that the Protestants 
are at war with the Papacy), and, more than that, she is a Tuscan, 
and by nature deceitful, and will not fail to proceed to all ex- 
tremities against her enemies. Consider the school in which the 
King was educated, and what he has learned from his fine tutor- 
to curse, to forswear himself, to blaspheme against the name of 
God, to corrupt matrons and maids, to dissemble his path, his 
religion, his purposes, to wear a mask over his face. Those are 
the lessons he has been taught to regard as a pastime. And his 
tutors made it his childish sport to see animals have their throats 
cut, and be butchered, in order to accustom him to the sight of 
the blood of his people. A true disciple of Macchiavelli, his master, 
he is determined to permit no other religion in his realm but his 
own, under the belief that there will never be any peace if two 
religions are allowed. . . . Everybody knows the interview between 
the King and his mother at Blois, how among other things the 
King, swearing by God's name according to his wont, asked her 
merrily if he had not played his role well on the arrival of the 
Queen of Navarre. Tou have begun very well/ the Queen 
answered, 'but that will do no good unless you go on.' Til take 
them all in my net/ he replied, swearing several times, 'and I will 
hand them over to you/ It is on this conversation, which you 
know to be true, that you must base your conduct; if you are 
sensible, you must get out of Paris as quickly as possible, and away 
from the Court, which is nothing but a ." 

Nevertheless, Coligny said he was resolved to be faithful to the 
King, and that he had rather be dragged through the streets of 
Paris than engage again in a civil war; that there was no ground 


for such suspicions, and he could not believe that one of the best 
Kings that France had had for several centuries would be capable 
of such horrible perfidy. 

So Coligny went, and the royal wedding was celebrated, on a 
scaffold built in front of Notre-Dame, with great pomp solen- 
nltcz cxquises. The King of Navarre was attended by his Bourbon 
cousins, the Princes of Conde and Conti, by the Comte de la Roche- 
foucauld, and by many Huguenot lords from all over the Kingdom* 
After that rite the procession went into Notre-Dame, but before 
Mass the Huguenots left the Cathedral and stayed outside until it 
was finished. They then returned, the bridegroom kissed his bride 
in presence of the King, and the royal company proceeded to the 
Archbishop's palace for the banquet De Thou says he remembers 
how, after Mass, he was taken through the gallery of the Cathedral 
into the choir, and put next to Coligny, and that he fixed his eyes 
on him with great curiosity and interest. Coligny was pointing 
out to the Marechal Damville (son to old Montmorency) the flags 
taken from the Huguenots at Jarnac and Moncontour hung up on 
the walls, and De Thou heard him say, "In a little while those 
will be torn down, and others, pleasanter to see, put in their 
place." He referred to the expected war with Spain, which he 
understood was resolved upon. 

But destiny had decreed otherwise. The Queen Mother, the 
Duchesse de Nemours (formerly the wife of Fran$ois de Guise), 
the Due d'Anjou, the Comte de Retz, one of the Queen's Italian 
counsellors, and Birague, also an Italian, the Chancellor, had put 
their heads together, and hatched a plot: Coligny must die, he is 
too dangerous to live, let him be killed by an agent of the Guises; 
then the Protestants and the Montmorency party, owing to their 
kinship with the Chatillons, will attack the Guisards; the conse- 
quence will be the destruction of the leaders, and then the King's 
soldiers will intervene and put the survivors to death for sedition 
a good plot, an excellent plot and thereafter the Queen Mother 
would rule the Kingdom undisturbed, and be able to establish 


her chers yeux, her darling Anjou, as King of some country some- 
where. It was, of course, of prime importance that the murder of 
Coligny should be ascribed at once to the Guises. 

Many people, in the light of later events, believed that the plot 
had been contrived long before. Pierre de Pfitoile recounts more 
fully the conversation between the Queen Mother and the King 
at Blois, referred to in the warning letter addressed to Coligny. He 
says that when Jeanne d'Albret was lured to Blois, the King called 
her his dear great-aunt, his best-beloved, his all, and never left her 
side, talking to her always with the greatest respect, and that when 
he went to bed he said to his mother, "Well, Madam, what do you 
think? Did I play my role well?" "Yes," she answered, "very 
well: but that is nothing, unless you keep it up." "Let me alone," 
the King said, "and you will see that I shall take them all in my 
net." There is confusion surrounding this story. The Queen 
Mother met Jeanne at Chenonceaux about March, 1572; and the 
King's conduct is sometimes assigned to his first interview with 
Coligny. No; such stories are not to be trusted. The King was not 
cognizant of the plot; neither does it appear that Henri de Guise 
was involved in it. The Queen Mother was the instigator, and of 
the Guises only the Duchesse de Nemours, it seems, was among the 
plotters. The details of execution were for a time left to the favor 
of circumstance, A propitious moment was sure to come. 

After the wedding most elaborate festivities succeeded one an- 
other. That same day there was a great supper at the Louvre, and 
a ball. The next day, Tuesday, the Due d'Anjou gave a dinner. 
On Wednesday there was a sort of allegorical tournament held at 
the Hotel de Bourbon, just behind the Louvre, in which King 
Charles, his brothers, and Henry of Navarre and his friends took 
part. The revel was this. A place, representing Paradise, was de- 
fended by the King, Anjou and Alen^on, and attacked by Navarre 
and his companions; the latter were repulsed and put into Tar- 
tarus. The allegory was puzzling, it seemed odd to put the bride- 
groom, the hero of the fete, in Tartarus, and some thought it 


djl^ifecdb ,./: 

(Photograph by Giraudon) 

Marguerite de Valois ("Margot") 


insulting to Protestants, and fancied (at least afterwards) that 
they perceived the presage of tragedy. On Thursday another alle- 
gorical combat was fought, and again with Catholics, the King, 
his brothers, the Due d'Aumale and the Due de Guise, on one 
side, against Navarre and Protestants on the other. But all was in 
good humour, and done for the pleasure of the spectators; and 
yet though the outside was friendly there was tension underneath. 

At this point (according to De Thou) the King did what must 
expose him to the suspicion of playing the Huguenots false, but 
it may have been merely a precaution on his part against them, for 
he had not forgotten their attempt to kidnap him at Meaux. He 
went to Coligny, with demonstrations of most sincere friendship, 
and said: "You know, mon pere, that you promised to avoid any 
slight to the Guises so long as you stayed at Court; and on their 
part they promised to show you, and your suite, all the great con- 
sideration that you deserve. I trust your word; but I do not trust 
theirs so completely. I know their bold and haughty character; 
they are only waiting for an opportunity to take revenge. The 
people of Paris are devoted to them, and they have, under pretext 
of doing honor to my sister's wedding, brought with them a large 
band of well-armed soldiers. I should be in despair if they under- 
stood any enterprise against you. Such an injury would come 
directly back upon us. That being so, if you agree, I think it 
expedient to bring my regiment of guards into the city under such- 
and-such officers [he named only those of whom Coligny felt no 
suspicion]. This reinforcement will assure the public peace. If 
any factious persons make trouble, there will be men to oppose 
them." To this proposal the Admiral readily agreed. 

At that time the eastern side of the Louvre opened on the Rue 
d'Autriche. Across this street, which ran at right angles with the 
Seine, stood the Hotel de Bourbon and the Hotel d'Anjou. Beyond 
them, and parallel with the Rue d'Autriche, came the Rue des 
Poulies, out of which, bending towards the northeast, issued the 
Rue des Fosses-Saint-Germain. This last street then crossed a third 


street, the Rue de 1'Arbre-Sec, which was parallel to the first two. 
The Admiral lodged in a house at the corner of the Rue des 
Fosses-Saint-Germain and of the Rue de FAnbre-Sec; so that on 
his way to and from the Louvre he would surely follow the Rue 
des Fosses-Saint-Germain, At the place where this street starts from 
the Rue des Poulies, on the east side, with its back to the cloister of 
Saint-Germain-FAuxerrois, there stood a house, in the row border- 
ing the street, in which one Pierre de Piles de Villemur lodged. 
This Villemur had once been a preceptor of Henri de Guise, At 
this time he happened to be away, and only an old servant woman 
was in charge of the house. Here a soldier, accompanied by a 
lackey, was brought by the Seigneur de Chailly, a bailiflf of the 
Due de Guise, who told the servant that the soldier was a close 
friend of M. Villemur and to take good care of him. She gave him 
Villemur's bedchamber to sleep in. This soldier, so introduced 
into the house, was none other than Maurevert, who had murdered 
M. de Mouy and had received an ecclesiastical benefice from the 
King and the Order of Saint-Michel for so doing, and in addition 
was known as le tuer du Roi, the King's Murderer. 

The next day, Friday, there was a meeting of the King's Council 
at the Louvre, which ended before noon, at ten or eleven o'clock, 
and Coligny started to go home to his lodgings on the Rue des 
Fosses-Saint Germain, as I have said, a little beyond Saint-Ger- 
main-FAuxerrois. On his way he met King Charles, who had been 
attending service in a chapel across the street, the Rue d'Autriche, 
and turned back with him to the tennis court, to watch him play 
with Henri de Guise and M. de Teligny, the Admiral's son-in-law, 
and a third. The palace of the Louvre was very different from 
what it is now; it was still a mediaeval fortress, square, with round 
towers at the corners, the only new part being the west end built 
by Pierre Lescot in the reign of Henry II. The tennis courts lay 
at the east end of the enclosure and opened on the Rue d'Autriche. 
The Admiral watched the game for a time, and then walked out 
into the street, turned to the right till he came to the street border- 


ing the Seine, then easterly to the Rue des Poulies, and then, ac- 
companied by a dozen gentlemen, he sauntered up the street, till 
he came opposite the house of Villemur, when a shot rang out from 
the ground floor. The Admiral was walking slowly, reading a 
memorial, and happened to pause, perhaps to make his shoe sit 
more easily, and the bullets missed his chest, but hit a finger of his 
right hand and his left arm. At the wound he cried out, "This is 
how honest folk are treated in France!" and, pointing, added, 
"The shot came from that window where the smoke is." Some 
of his suite rushed to the house, and found a harquebus on the 
bed of the front room, the wick still smoking. The weapon was 
recognized to be of the model used by the bodyguard of the Due 
d'Anjou. The assassin had escaped. He had arranged with M. de 
Chailly to have horses ready, and after firing he rushed out the back 
door into the grounds of Saint Germain-PAuxerrois, mounted, 
rode through the town to the gate of Saint-Antoine, where he 
found a fresh horse waiting, and escaped. Meanwhile the Ad- 
miral, supported on each side, was able to walk to his lodgings, 
and one messenger was despatched to carry the news to the King 
and another to Dr. Ambroise Pare. 

The King was still at the tennis court when the messenger ar- 
rived. All the witnesses agreed that his anger and indignation 
appeared perfectly genuine. "Shall I never have peace?" he 
cried, "always fresh troubles !" and threw his racket to the ground 
and went into the palace. Guise left the tennis court by another 
way, and Teligny hurried to his father-in-law. The King bade the 
old servant in Villemur's house, and Maurevert's lackey, who were 
both arrested, to be brought before him and examined. Again his 
anger broke out, and he denounced the deed in a most natural- 
seeming fashion. He swore that he would so deal with the guilty 
and their accomplices as to satisfy the Admiral's friends, and at 
once appointed three members of the Parlement to investigate, one 
of them the President Christophe de Thou, father of the historian. 

The Queen Mother had just sat down to table when they told 


her what had happened. She got up without speaking and went 
to her room. "I think/' wrote the Spanish ambassador, "that she 
was expecting this." She then went to the King, and found Henry 
of Navarre and his young cousin Conde, who were asking permis- 
sion to leave Paris, and added her protestations of indignation. "It's 
a great outrage done the King," she said. "If we leave this today, 
tomorrow they will be so bold as to do the same to my son in the 
Louvre." Then she and the King went to visit the wounded man. 
When they showed her the bullet extracted from his arm, she said: 
"I am glad that the ball did not stay in the wound; for I remember 
that when M. de Guise was killed at Orleans, the doctors told me 
that if the ball could be taken out, even if it had been poisoned, 
there would be no danger of death." 

After the proper amount of interest and sympathy, the Queen 
Mother and the King took their leave, and the Huguenots gathered 
together in Coligny's lodgings and put their heads together. The 
Vidame de Chartres declared to Navarre and Conde his opinion 
that the attack upon the Admiral was but the first act of a tragedy 
which would finish with the murder of all their friends. Teligny 
advised immediate departure from the city; but the physicians 
thought it would not be safe to move the Admiral, and at that 
Teligny decided to stay and urged them all to have complete 
confidence in the King. At first they all deemed it the Guises' 
doing, but soon they began to suspect that the Guises were only 
accomplices. And the next day, Saturday, La Rochefoucauld, 
Teligny, de Piles, and other Huguenot lords went to the Louvre 
and spoke out roundly to the King and Queen; they said in the 
most defiant terms that if justice was not done within twenty-four 
hours they possessed the means to do it themselves, that "though 
the Admiral had lost one arm, a thousand others would be lifted 
up and make such a massacre that all the rivers of France would 
run with blood." And they were on the brink of rushing to the 
Hotel de Guise and murdering the Duke there, or wherever he 
could be found. 


ON THAT same Saturday Coligny, having heard that sixty thousand 
Parisians had begun to mutiny and take arms, asked the King to 
send some troops to guard his house; to which request the King 
and the Due d' Anjou very graciously assented, and ordered Cos- 
seins, Colonel of the King's French guards, to take some of his sol- 
diers and stand at Coligny's door; and a few, a very few, of Na- 
varre's Swiss guards were sent with the others. For still greater 
safety the King ordered the Protestant gentlemen who were in 
Paris to take lodgings near the Admiral's, and quartermasters were 
bidden assign them houses in that section of the city, and everybody 
could hear the King say not to allow any Catholic to go near this 
region. The city authorities were commanded to make the rounds, 
and take a list of all Protestants and tell them that the King wished 
them to lodge near the Admiral. De Thou says he cannot under- 
stand why these measures did not excite suspicion. The probable 
answer is, not only that the Admiral and others could not believe 
that the King was capable of treachery, but also that at that time 
the King had no treachery in his mind. 

Fear, as usual, sowed dragons' teeth. The threats of the Hugue- 
nots had thoroughly frightened the Queen Mother. If they traced 
the Admiral's assassination to her, what might not happen both to 
her and to her darling Anjou, as guiltily involved as she? She 
must see it through; the Huguenots must be exterminated. She 
held a meeting of her most trusted counsellors; besides herself and 
Anjou there were her husband's illegitimate son, Henry of An- 
gouleme, Marechal Tavannes, and her Italian followers, Gondi, 
Comte de Retz, Rene de Birague, the Chancellor, a Milanese, and 



the Due de Nevers, a Gonzaga. All agreed that as the attempt 
on the Admiral's life had failed there must be a general extermina- 
tion of the Huguenots; nothing else could save the King and the 
Kingdom and themselves from ruin, Coligny would be like a 
lion escaped from his cage. Since the Lord, in His inscrutable 
wisdom, had not granted success to the modest plan of killing 
only one man, why then a more radical plan must be adopted. 

The Due d'Aumale, the Due de Guise and Henry of Angouleme 
were called to the Louvre to confer. Details were thought out. 
Some must lead the soldiers, others must rouse the populace. There 
was much discussion as to the fate of Henry of Navarre and Conde, 
but finally it was agreed that both should be spared, Navarre as 
a King and Prince du Sang and brother-in-law to King Charles, 
and Conde as a Prince du Sang and Nevers's brother-in-law. Mont- 
morency and Damville, sons of the old Constable, were also put 
on the exempt list. There the exemptions stopped; Teligny, La 
Rochefoucauld and La Noue were doomed. But the most im- 
portant preliminary was still to be achieved; the King must be 
told and his approval obtained. This was to be done by Catherine 
and Anjou. The two went and told him that the responsibility for 
the attack on the Admiral did not lie with the Guises but that they, 
his mother and his brother, had contrived the deed, and now only 
one course was open to them. At first they had great difficulty. 
The Venetian CavalH said that they argued for an hour and a 
half, and at last persuaded him that the Huguenots were about 
to take up arms that very night, and that his life and their lives 
and the safety of the Kingdom were at stake. The poor King 
had not dissembled about Coligny, he was very indignant with 
the attack upon him, but he could not stand up against his mother. 
As Margot said, he was trts catholique, trls oUissant h sa mire. He 
agreed, but he told Navarre that it would be well for him to bring 
all his trusty followers to the Louvre that night, in case the inso- 
lence and impetuosity of the Guises should work upon the popu- 
lace to do evil. Henry of Navarre gratefully followed this advice. 


Meanwhile there was great stir in the streets, armed men kept 
coming and going. Muttered threats were reported to Coligny, 
and he sent word of it to the King, who answered: "Let the 
Admiral be easy; nothing is done except by my orders; it's a matter 
of calming the populace whom the Guises wish to stir up." The 
Due de Guise had his work assigned to him; he was appointed, so 
De Thou says, executive head of the massacre. De Thou was 
bitter against the League, and here he exaggerates the role of the 
Due de Guise. It becomes clear from the accounts that the definite 
task assigned to the Duke was to see that the murder of Coligny 
was carried out. He called (De Thou continues) the Catholic 
officers together, announced to them His Majesty's orders, and 
said: "The time has come to punish this rebel, hated of God and 
men, and to exterminate all his partisans. The beast is in the 
toils; let us not let him escape. Make the most of this splendid 
opportunity to overthrow the enemies of the Kingdom. The glory 
of victory won in past wars, which has cost the King's loyal sub- 
jects so much blood, is nothing in comparison to what you will 
achieve today/* He stationed soldiers around the Louvre, with 
orders to let none of the suite of Navarre or Conde issue forth. 
Colonel Cosseins, who guarded Coligny's house, also had orders 
to let no man out. 

The Prevot des Marchands was summoned, and bidden to tell 
the officers of the City train bands to arm their men and repair at 
midnight to the Hotel de Ville, and there learn what they had to 
do. The former Prevot, Marcel, a man of great influence in Paris, 
was also summoned. He was asked how many men he could 
muster, if the Kong had need of them. "That," he said, "would 
depend on how soon they were wanted." They said, in a month. 
He answered: "More than a hundred thousand." And in a week? 
"Proportionally." And in a day? "Twenty thousand." Marcel was 
sworn to secrecy, and then given his orders. He was to tell the train 
bands that the King intended to exterminate Coligny and all his 
adherents; they must see that none escaped, that none hid in 


houses; the signal would be the tocsin from the bell of the Palais 
de Justice, and, in order to recognize one another, every man was 
to wear a white scarf on his left arm, and a white cross on his 
hat; all must come well armed and resolute, and torches should 
be put in all the windows to light the streets. Everything was 
arranged* The Due de Guise, with his uncle, the Due d'Aumale, 
and the King's illegitimate brother, Henri d'Angouleme, were to 
kill the Admiral and T61igny; Tavannes and the Due de Nevers 
were to kill La Rochefoucauld. The Venetian ambassador wrote 
to the Doge, "Your Serenity can imagine with what satisfaction 
M. de Guise received this commission." 

In the palace Margot, a bride of five days, was sitting in her 
mother's room, on a chest beside her elder sister Claude, the 
Duchess of Lorraine; the Duchess was in very low spirits. The 
Queen, who had been talking to some ladies, noticed Margot, came 
over, and bade her go to bed. Margot got up to obey, but her sister 
caught her by the arm, and cried out, "Don't go, Margot, for God's 
sake," and burst into tears. The Queen bade the Duchess of Lor- 
raine hold her tongue. The Duchess pleaded that no advantage 
would come from sacrificing Margot, and said that if "they" 
discovered anything, "they" would take revenge on her. The 
Queen answered that, if it pleased God, no harm would come to 
her, but come what might she must go to her room for fear lest 
something be suspected and the matter interfered with. What 
this meant Margot did not understand, and the Queen, a second 
time, rudely bade her go to bed, Claude again burst into tears, 
and murmured "Good night," but did not dare say more. Margot 
went up to her boudoir, said her prayers, and, going into her bed- 
chamber, found her husband in bed, and thirty or more Huguenot 
gentlemen crowding about him. Her husband told her to get 
into bed. So she did, but she could not sleep. They all talked of 
the attack upon the Admiral and how they would demand justice 
in the morning, and if the King would not grant it they would 
take matters into their own hands. 


That night the Comte de la Rochefoucauld, as usual, was the 
last in the King's bedchamber, and as he was about to leave (his 
gentleman in waiting, M. de Mergey, was eavesdropping) the 
King said to him, "Foucauld [so he called him], don't go away. 
It's late; let's talk nonsense (balwernerons) the rest of the night." 
"I can't," the Count answered, "I must go to bed and sleep.'* "You 
can sleep here with my valets de chambre." "Their feet stink/' 
the Count answered, "Good night, petit Maitre" and went. He 
then paid a visit to Mme la Princesse de Conde, the dowager, and 
then continued on to the room of Henry of Navarre, said good 
night and went away. At the foot of the stairs a man dressed in 
black took him aside and talked some time, and then departed. 
The Count told M. de Mergey to go back to the King of Navarre's 
room and tell him that he had been warned that M. de Guise and 
M. de Nevers were out and had not come back to sleep in the 
Louvre. Mergey found Navarre in bed with Margot, and whis- 
pered his message. Navarre told him to bid the Count come to him 
early in the morning. Mergey then went downstairs and found La 
Rochefoucauld talking with M. de Nangay, captain of the guards. 
Those two then went to Navarre's room, but did not stay long. 

There were a lot of Huguenot gentlemen in Navarre's ante- 
chamber. Nangay put his head in that room and counted how 
many were there, and said "Gentlemen, if any of you wish to 
leave, it is time, for we are going to lock the gates." The Hugue- 
nots answered that they preferred to stay and play cards. Then 
Nangay and La Rochefoucauld went down into the courtyard, 
where they found the King's guards drawn up, Switzers, Scots 
and Frenchmen, all the way from the stairs, that led from the 
great hall, to the door. There, the warder of the gate, M. de 
Rambouillet, was sitting on a little block of wood, beside the pos- 
tern, which*was the only door open. Mergey was an old friend of 
his, and as he was going out Rambouillet took him by the hand, 
squeezed it and said sadly, "Good-bye, my friend." 

About midnight the King sent for Navarre and Conde to come 


to the royal bedchamber. At the door their gentlemen wished to 
enter with them, but the soldiers stationed there would not let 
them. Navarre looked at them sorrowfully and said, "Good-bye, 
my friends, God knows whether we shall see one another again," 
and the two princes went in. The King spoke: "Ever since my 
infancy the public peace has been broken by war after war, but 
now, by God's grace, I have taken measures to choke the cause. 
Coligny, the head of all this trouble, has been killed by my 
command, and I have ordered all wicked rascals, infected by the 
same ideas as he, to be dealt with in the same manner. I am not 
ignorant of the evil you two have done me by putting yourselves 
at the head of the rebels and making war on me. I have reason 
enough for taking revenge for this outrage you have done me, and 
I could have no more favorable opportunity, but, in consideration 
of our relationship and your youth, I am willing to forget the past 
and believe that what you have done against the welfare of the 
country was less of your own free will than from the counsels of 
Coligny and his partisans, who are already punished as they de- 
serve, or soon will be. Your faults will be buried in eternal 
oblivion, provided you will make up for them by sincere loyalty 
and obedience. You must abjure the profane doctrine you have 
embraced and return in good faith to the Roman Catholic religion. 
I have received that faith from my ancestors, and I will permit no 
other in my Kingdom. It is for you to decide whether you will ac- 
cept these terms or receive the same treatment as the others." 

Navarre was politic and wary; he begged the King not to harm 
their bodies or their consciences, and they would never fail in 
loyalty. But Conde spoke out. He said he could not believe that 
the King would violate his word, that a religion could not be 
taken up at will, that his life and possessions were in the King's 
hands to dispose of as he wished, but for his religion he was ac- 
countable only to God, and he had rather lose his life than renounce 
the creed he knew to be true. The King retorted angrily that 
Conde was a rebel and the son of a rebel, and that if he did not 


forego his obstinacy within three days lie would lose his head. At 
that the two princes were left to think the matter over. 

Meanwhile Margot, left alone, thinking her sister's reasons for 
alarm had been proved false, fell asleep, but very soon she was 
awakened by knocks and kicks on the door and cries of "Navarre! 
Navarre!" Her maid, thinking it was the King of Navarre in a 
great hurry, opened the door as fast as she could; and in dashed a 
Huguenot gentleman, Gabriel de Levis, Vicomte de Leran, with 
wounds on the arm and neck, chased by four soldiers, who pur- 
sued him into the room. The fugitive jumped on the bed and 
caught hold of Margot, and the two rolled over into the space 
between the bed and wall. Both screamed in terror. M. de Nangay 
happened to come in, and seeing Margot in this situation could not 
refrain from laughing. He rebuked the soldiers for such impro- 
priety, sent them out, and promised her to spare the poor man's 
life. Margot had his wounds dressed and bade him sleep in her 
boudoir till they were healed. She had to change her shift, it was 
so bloody. Then M. de Nangay told her what had happened, and 
that her husband was safe in the King's bedchamber. She put on 
a dressing gown, and Nangay led her, more dead than alive, to 
her sister Claude's bedroom. As she entered the antechamber, the 
doors being wide open, another fugitive chased by soldiers was 
struck down not three steps from her. There two of her husband's 
gentlemen came and besought her to save their lives. She fell on 
her knees before the King and the Queen Mother, and at last they 
granted her request. All of Navarre's gentlemen, except these, 
had been led down into the court and murdered outside the King's 

Margot's sister-in-law, the pretty Queen Elizabeth, had gone to 
bed early, and, on waking, learned from her attendants what had 
been goingf on. "Alas!" she cried, "does my husband the King 
know of it?" "Yes, Madam, it was he that ordered it." "O Lord," 
she cried, "what does it mean, what counsellors are they that gave 
such advice? O God, I beseech you to forgive him, for, if you are 


not merciful, I fear that this wrongdoing will not be pardoned." 
Then, with tears in her eyes, she asked for her prayer book and 
began to pray. 

Meanwhile the tocsin -had rung from Saint-German4'Auxerrois, 
and at the signal Guise, d'Afrffiale and Angouleme rode to the Ad- 
miral's lodgings. There Guise spoke to Cosseins, the officer os- 
tensibly sent to protect Coligny. Cosseins rapped on the door 
of the house, and La Bonne, the Admiral's maitre d'hotel, opened 
the door. Cosseins poignarded him and rushed in at the head of 
his soldiers. The five Switzers sent by Henri de Navarre ran to 
the door of the stairway and locked it from the inside; one was 
shot on the way. The door was smashed, the assailants burst in, 
killed another Switzer and rushed upstairs to the Admiral's room, 
At the noisethe^Admiral had got out of bed. An attendant said, 
"Monseigneur, God calls us to Himself; the door is forced, there 
are no means of defense." Coligny answered, "I have long been 
ready to die; you men save yourselves. You can't save my life. I 
commit my soul to God's mercy." The murderers rushed in. 
Besme, one of the Guise household, pushed forward and struck 
the Admiral, crying, 'Traitor, give me back my master's blood 
that you so wickedly shed." It was soon over. The Duke of Guise 
called from outside, "Is he dead?" Besme answered, "Yes." 
Guise said, "M. d' Angouleme won't believe it till he sees him at his 
feet." The body, still breathing, was thrown from the window. 
The King's brother, Angouleme, wiped the blood from the face in 
order to make sure of the Admiral's identity, then he shouted, 
"Come on, friends, let's continue our work; the King's orders!" 
And of! he went, with Guise and d'Aumale, in search of Mont- 
gomery. Bells were now ringing all about. In another part of the 
city Nevers, Tavannes and Montpensier rode through the streets 
crying out, "No quarter!" Tavannes shouted, "Bleed 'em, bleed 
'em! The doctors say that blood-letting is as beneficial in August 
as in the month of May!" 

^ >^mv 

Gaspard de Coligny 

(Photograph by Giraudon) 


ACROSS the river, on the south side in the faubourg Saint-Germain, 
a group of distinguished Huguenots had passed the night: Gabriel 
de Montgomery, the Scotch lord, who ran the fatal course against 
Henri II, the Vidame de Chartres, the Sieur de Pardaillan, and a 
number of others. They had a feeling that they had rather not be 
in the city itself. The task of making away with these gentlemen 
had been assigned to Laurent de Maugiron, a good Catholic, and 
the Due de Guise had promised him a thousand of the Paris militia 
for that purpose. But the militia were occupied with pillage, and 
there was delay before other troops could be sent in their place. 
And when Maugiron had crossed the river and arrived at the gate 
of the faubourg, he found he had the wrong keys. By this time 
it was broad day, and the Huguenots could see and hear what was 
going on; they rode away at full gallop. The Due de Guise pur- 
sued them as far as Montfort FAmaury, halfway to Dreux, near 
thirty miles from Paris, but he could not catch them. 

The Royalists were more fortunate in the city. Teligny, the Ad- 
miral's son-in-law, escaped onto the roof of the Admiral's house, 
but was overtaken by guards of the Due d'Anjou one could tell 
them by the black, white and green stripes on their clothes and 
killed. La Rouchef oucauld had gone to his lodgings you remem- 
ber how he refused to stay at the Louvre with the King, who had 
been fond of him on account of his good manners and his high 
spirits and was preparing for bed, and half undressed, when he 
heard a rap on the door and a voice from the outside, which said 
he was M. La Barge, one of the King's officers, and that he had a 



message for him from the King. The Comte bade his servant open 
the door, and in came masked men. La Rochefoucauld thought 
it was the King and a band of mummers, and that they had come 
to pretend to flog him as a jest, and he begged them to treat him 
gently. They did not leave him in error long; they looted the house 
before his eyes and then killed him. Antoine de Clermont, a half 
brother of the Prince de Porcien, whose widow Catherine de 
Cleves had married the Due de Guise, was murdered by Bussy 
d'Amboise, who had a lawsuit against him and availed himself of 
the occasion. De Thou enumerates a list of these murdered noble- 
men, Marasin de Guerchy, Baudine Puviant, Berni, Charles de 
Quellenec, and says their naked bodies were dragged under the 
windows of the Louvre for the Queen Mother and the ladies of 
the court to stare at. Lavardin was nearly saved, but a man came 
up saying he was sent by the King, and poignarded him; Brion, 
tutor to the little Prince de Conti, was killed in the boy's arms as 
the boy tried in vain to save him. Francois Nompar de Caumont 
was in bed with his two young sons; the father and one son were 
stabbed to death, the other boy, scarcely twelve, all smeared with 
blood, lay still under the two corpses and escaped, to become a 
friend and companion of Henry of Navarre. De Thou gives many 
other names of murdered men belonging to the high nobility of 
France; one of them, Beauvoir, had been Navarre's tutor. 

De Thou says: "The city was nothing but a spectacle of horror 
and carnage; every street, every spot, resounded with the noise that 
these madmen made, running here and there and everywhere to 
kill and loot; you could hear nothing but lamentation and 
howling of men stabbed, or about to be stabbed; you saw nothing 
but dead bodies flung from windows. Corpses lay everywhere, 
filling houses and courtyards, and some were dragged through the 
muddy streets, which flowed with blood. An innumerable number 
of people, men, women, even those great with child, and children, 
were massacred." Anne de Terriere, Seigneur de Chappes, a 
famous lawyer, eighty years old, bargained with the Prevot des 


Marchands for his life, and ceded a house he held at Versailles; after 
he had executed the deed they killed him. Madame de Longeuil, 
niece of a Cardinal, a very cultivated lady, was offered life upon the 
denial of her religion; she refused, and was murdered. Pierre 
Ramus, a scholar enshrined in every encyclopedia, was another; 
and so on, and so on. One of the notorious butchers was a gold- 
smith named Cruce. De Thou says: "I remember seeing him 
many times, always with horror, a man of gallowsbird counte- 
nance, who bared his arm and boasted, in his insolence, that that 
arm had killed that day more than four hundred men." Even 
Catholics who were called politiques, middle-of-the-road, who were 
opposed to fanatacism, Catholic or Huguenot, and wanted peace 
such as the Montmorency brothers ran great danger. 

But, indeed, a number were saved. The King is recorded as 
having pardoned three noblemen, and scores were saved by the 
Due de Guise. Others escaped by an apparent interposition of 

Young Du Plessis-Mornay, who afterwards became a very dis- 
tinguished man, was lodging in the Rue Saint-Jacques, at the 
Sign of the Golden Compass. He belonged to a family that had 
"abjured idolatry," and had come to Paris to make a report to 
Coligny on conditions in Holland and Flanders. He had heard 
rumours of danger, and had warned in vain the Admiral's house- 
hold; and on Saturday morning had sent his mother out of the 
city. Very early on Sunday morning he sent his servant out for 
news. The servant hurried back with tidings of what was going 
on, and Du Plessis-Mornay hid in a little space between the ceiling 
of the top story and the roof. On Monday, the landlord told him 
that a gang of men was making a house-to-house search, and that 
he must go; so the lad put on a suit of workman's clothes, and 
managed to slip out, but within an inch of his life. 

Madame de Feuquieres, a young widow, who had learned "the 
truth" in her father's house, was aroused by her maid on Sunday 
morning with the tidings that there was a general massacre. She 


took her little girl and hurried to a friend's house, where soon 
forty refugees had gathered- But the house ceased to be safe, and 
all but two ladies slunk away; Mme de Feuquieres, with her little 
girl and her servant, crawled into a hollow under a gable, while 
the other lady hid in a woodpile. Mme de Feuquieres found it 
necessary to shift her abode from house to house, but after eleven 
days she got out of the city, and lived to marry the young Du 

Another lad, thirteen years old, destined to fame as the Due de 
Sully, had come to Paris to attend Henry of Navarre's wedding, 
although his father had predicted that "if the wedding is celebrated 
in Paris, the liveries will be incarnadine." On Sunday morning 
the tocsin awoke him, his tutor and his valet; these two latter went 
out into the street to learn what the matter was. Sully never saw 
them again. His landlord, a Huguenot, hastily went off to Mass 
and wished to take Sully with him, but Sully refused to go. He 
has told of his escape. 

"I made up my mind to try to reach the College de Bourgogne, 
where I was a student, although it was far from my lodgings. The 
distance made it dangerous. I put on my student's gown, and, 
taking a large breviary under my arm, went downstairs. As I 
walked out into the street I was horrified; there were madmen run- 
ning to and fro, smashing down doors and shouting, 'Kill, kill, 
massacre the Huguenots.' Blood spattered before my eyes, and 
doubled my fear. I ran into a clump of soldiers, who stopped me. 
They plied me with questions, and began to jostle me about, when 
luckily they saw my breviary. That served as my safe-conduct. 
Twice again the same thing happened, and twice again I escaped. 
At last I reached the College de Bourgogne; but there a greater 
danger awaited me. The porter refused to let me in, and I re- 
mained out in the street at the mercy of the madmen, who kept 
increasing in numbers. I bethought myself of asking for the 
Principal of the college, a good man who was very friendly to me, 
and, by the aid of a little money, got in. The Principal took me to 


his room, where two inhuman priests talked of the Sicilian Vespers 
and tried to get me out of his hands, saying that the order was to 
kill every one down to babies at the breast The Principal locked 
me up in an out-of-the-way closet, where I stayed for three days." 
A letter came from his father telling him to do whatever Henry of 
Navarre did, even go to Mass. And so he was saved. 

The list of esapes, however, is short. 

The King, uncertain as to what public opinion would be, deemed 
it prudent to follow his mother's plan and throw the blame on the 
Guises. He wrote that same day to all the provincial governors 
that the trouble had begun without his having anything to do 
with it, or knowing anything about it beforehand. His circular 

"It happened that the Guises, together with their adherents, 
lords and gentlemen, who have no small power in this city, as 
everybody knows, having learned that the friends of the Admiral 
intended to wreak vengeance upon them for his wound, suspecting 
them to be the authors of the attempt, for that reason rose up last 
night, and between the one party and the other there occurred 
une blen grande et lamentable sedition. The guard stationed to 
protect the Admiral's house was overpowered, and they killed 
him and several gentlemen with him; others have been massacred 
in many places of the city. And this was done with such fury that 
it was impossible to apply a remedy, as one would have wished, 
for I was very busy with my guards and other troops to save my- 
self and my brothers in the Louvre. Afterwards it was possible 
to attend to the suppression of the sedition, which, thanks be to 
God, is now dying down. This sedition was the consequence of a 
private quarrel of long standing between the two houses. I had 
always foreseen that trouble would come of it, and had done aU 
that was possible to appease it, as everybody knows. In this there 
is no breach of the Edict of Pacification; on the contrary I wish it 
upheld as much as ever . . ." 


At the same time the King sent Monsieur de Nan^ay to Chatillon 
to arrest the wives and children and Coligny and Andelot, and 
fetch them to Paris, and he wrote to M. de Matignon, Lieutenant- 
General in Normandy, "Please ascertain, but doulcement et sans 
grand bruit, where M. de Montgomery has retired, so that you can 
muster some troops and take him prisoner, or cause him to be 
taken, and make so sure of him that I may rest in peace; but do 
not let anybody know that I have written to you about it, and 
proceed as adroitly as possible." 

And then the Queen Mother discovered that the citizens of 
Paris were delighted with what had been done, that fanatical 
Catholics everywhere shouted approval; and she, in her haste and 
trepidation, had been bidding the King ascribe what turned out to 
be, not blame, but glory, to the Guises. She made a volte-face; the 
credit must not be given to the Guises, nor shared with them, all 
must be assumed by the King. The poor fellow was obliged to 
throw consistency to the winds. Trts obeissant a sa mtre, the next 
day, Tuesday, he summoned the Parlement de Paris and declared 
that "all that had passed during the last two days had been done 
by his express command in order to punish those men who time 
and time again had conspired against himself, his mother the 
Queen and his brothers, for the purpose of destroying the Catholic 
religion, overthrowing the monarchy, and establishing, upon the 
foundations of heresy, a new form of government in France." 
And the Queen Mother strengthened her and her son's claim to 
the glory, quoting the words of Christ, Beatus qui non fuerit in 
me scandalizatus, Blessed is he that is not offended because of me. 

But it is precarious to stand with one foot on one theory, and the 
other foot upon an opposite theory, and French diplomacy had to 
exercise all its ingenuity in confronting first sympathetic Papists 
and then unsympathetic Protestants. In especial M. de la Mothe- 
Fenelon, ambassador to England, had some difficulty in present- 
ing the true view of the affair to Queen Elizabeth. He reports to 


the King that after being kept waiting three days he was admitted 
to an audience: 

"She advanced ten or twelve steps to greet me, in a sad and 
stern but very polite manner, and, having taken me apart to a 
window, after making excuses for the delay of my audience, asked 
me if it were possible to believe her ears for the extraordinary 
news that was published concerning a King that she honored and 
loved, and in whom she had more confidence than in anybody 
else. I replied that in truth I had come to condole with her, on 
Your Majesty's behalf, for an extremely lamentable misfortune, 
through which you were constrained to go, with greater regret 
than you had ever felt since you were born. And I repeated to her 
the whole story, according to my instructions, adding some details 
that I deemed necessary to make her understand how Your 
Majesty had been full of apprehension in the face of two extreme 
dangers, that arose so suddenly that you had scarce an hour's time 
to ward them off: one for your own life, and the lives of the 
Queen your mother and of your brothers, and the other the inevi- 
table recommencement of troubles, worse than in the past, so that 
you were constrained, to your more than mortal sorrow, not 
merely not to prevent, but to suffer to be carried out against the 
lives of the Admiral and his partisans, the execution of the very 
plan that they had prepared against your life, and to let fall on their 
own heads the results of rebellion. And that you had not omitted 
one single duty of a good king with respect to justice, not one duty 
of a good king towards his subjects, nor of a kind lord and master 
towards a beloved servant, but had fulfilled them all towards the 
Admiral, at the time of his wound, as if he had been your own 
brother; and that before this time you had done all sorts of favors 
and kind entertainment to him and those of the new religion, and 
therefore you ask Her Majesty's condolence all the more because 
of their wicked purpose and for the horrible ingratitude they had 


shown towards you; and I told her how some of them, before 
dying, had confessed that they were justly punished for having 
conspired against their King. And, finally, that you felt sorry for 
yourself [vous vous condoliez] to have had to cut and cast off 
an arm of your Kingdom rather than let the whole body perish, 
and that you are sure she will grieve for your misfortune, and will 
help you all she can to lift you up again and moderate your sorrow. 
"The Queen, finding me speak perhaps in a different fashion 
from what she expected, inquired into nice details, and then said 
that she hoped with all her heart that the crimes newly imputed 
to the Admiral and his friends were greater than those that had 
been remarked before, and that their present conspiracy had been 
far worse than in the past and more heinous than her ambassador 
M. Walsingham had written, that what I had added did not ex- 
aggerate them, and that, therefore, their demerits rendered them 
worthy of the cruel deaths they had suffered. . . . But that what lay 
heavy on her heart was fear for your reputation, for she had picked 
you out from among all Christian princes (since she had no hus- 
band), to love and reverence as if she were your wife, and that 
she was infinitely jealous of your honor, and that you may believe 
she has argued for your justification and innocence, more than she 
would have done for her own, and had assured people, on her 
life, that these murders could never have sprung from your natural 
disposition, but some strange misfortune had caused them, that 
would be more clearly understood later. But that, since then, when 
many details were reported to her of what had happened in your 
presence, and that you had even made your Parlement approve 
it all, as if there were no laws in France against those who con- 
spired against Your Majesty, except by approving massacre, she 
did not know what to say, and feared that great annoyances might 
happen to you, and she prayed God fervently to turn them aside 
from you," 

The poor ambassador thanked her for her understanding, and 


assured her that the King had not violated his pact with the 
Huguenots, but was resolute to observe it strictly, etc., etc. In fact, 
M. de La Mothe-Fenelon found himself in one of the most awk- 
ward plights that can confront an ambassador. The Queen did 
not spare him, but said she was afraid that the King's counsellors, 
who had made him abandon his own national subjects, might make 
him disregardful of a foreigner like herself, although such a good 
friend, etc,, etc* And, after that interview was over, M. de la 
Mothe-Fenelon was obliged to go and repeat his story to the 
members of her Council. 

But however scandalized the Protestant world, however alien- 
ated the moderate party of the Politiques, staunch Catholics from 
the Pope down applauded and praised the King. The Cardinal 
of Lorraine, who was in Rome at the time, rejoiced with a whole 
heart. He wrote to the King: "Sire, it is the very best thing I 
had ever dared desire or hope. I am positive that from this begin- 
ning the actions of Your Majesty will grow from day to day to 
the glory of God, to the immortality of your name, making your 
empire grow and your power feared, and that God will keep you 
so that in a little time His great favours will be manifest in you." 
He arranged a celebration, at which the Pope assisted, in the 
French church of San Luigi on the Piazza Navona; and at his 
instigation a long band of little children, in surplices, carrying 
olive branches, made a procession through the streets of Rome, 
blessing and praising the Lord, who had inspired the King's heart 
to so happy and holy an enterprise, from which was to be expected 
prosperity and peace for France and increase of the honor of God 
and of the Roman Catholic Church, which had good reason to 
rejoice. And the Cardinal, in recounting this in a letter, added, 
"My friend, this is the right hand of the Most High." And after- 
wards when the Cardinal was addressing a general assembly of 
the church, at which the King was present, he said: "Sire, the 
noble tide of Father of Religion, Pater Rdigionis, a name once 
given to Clovis, belongs to you of strictest right on account of your 


zeal for God, You saw your wretched subjects debauched from 
the true f aith, and you proceeded deftly, and conducted your plans 
prudently, using holy dissimulation, a dissimulation full of piety, 
and you executed justice, justly, and, as is unusual, with hardly 
any fighting in view of the exigencies of the time and persons 
concerned, and with one blow you have purged the Kingdom of 
the false prophets, of their blasphemous heresies, their debauches 
and all exercise of their damnable religion. ... By that you not 
only equal, but greatly surpass, the greatness and glory of your 
predecessors, in this noble name of 'Very Christian* [an appella- 
tion of the Kings of France]." 


IT is not easy to make out what share the Due de Guise had in all 
this. Without a doubt Catherine and her chers yeux, Anjou, were 
the principal authors. 

There is a document that purports to be Anjou's own account 
of the inception of the plot, Discours a un personnage d'honneur et 
de qudite, which, it is obvious from the contents and the circum- 
stances under which it is alleged to have been written, was not 
written by him; nevertheless, it is perhaps more likely to contain 
truth than if it had been. This document says that Anjou and his 
mother decided on the assassination of Coligny, because Coligny's 
influence over the King was not only baneful, but directed against 

"We consulted together, we compared all our observations and 
suspicions, and went over all past incidents [such, no doubt, as 
jascheuses ceillades cast at Anjou by the King] and we were vir- 
tually certain that the Admiral had given the King a sinister 
opinion of us, and we determined, then and there, to get rid of 
him, and to arrange how with Mme de Nemours [the former 
Duchess of Guise] , the only person* in whom we thought we could 
confide because of her hatred of him." 

Marechal de Tavannes, one of the Queen's little group, says, 
"The Queen, with two counsellors and M. d'Anjou, resolved on 
the death of the Admiral . . . and to cover herself by the pretext 
of the Guises, as the Admiral had taken part in killing their 

* The italics are the author's. 



Such a plan was by no means new. Three years before, Catherine 
had told the Spanish ambassador that for seven years she had been 
resolved on the Admiral's death. Now at last her purpose neared 
its goal. The first step was to choose an assassin. One suggestion 
in order to involve the Guises was for Henri de Guise to kill the 
Admiral in the game of riding at the ring in the garden of the 
Louvre. That plan presented difficulties; and then mother and 
son, after rejecting one candidate, decided that Maurevert was 
their man. The facts that are alleged to connect Henri de Guise 
with Maurevert are these. The house in which Maurevert con- 
cealed himself was tenanted by a former tutor of Henri's; M. de 
Chailly, who conducted Maurevert to that house, was bailiff to the 
Due de Guise and maitre d'hotel to the Due d'Aumale (but it was 
d'Aumale, and not Henri, who bade him hide Maurevert there) ; 
and Maurevert in his early youth had been in the household of 
Henri's father (but that must have been before Henri's time, for 
Maurevert married when Henri was but eleven years old). These 
facts hardly seem sufficient to go to a jury. 

The real ground for suspecting the Due de Guise was the 
knowledge that he and the Admiral were deadly enemies; that 
enmity would seem a reasonable ground for the Queen's making 
him privy to the plot. On the other hand, Catherine may well 
have thought that a secret would be better kept if the sharers 
were as few as possible; she may have feared that the Duke's 
impetuous nature would interfere with her control of the affair; 
she may not have wished him to know that she and Anjou had 
concocted the plot; and, besides, he was not necessary. I do not 
mean to suggest that he would have held back; by no means. He 
had waited nine years for an opportunity by which he "with wings 
as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, might sweep to his 
revenge." Honor was his guide. As I have said, he had no more 
doubts of his duty to avenge the death of his father than Hamlet 
had, or Orestes. All gentlemen thought so. Brant6me says a son 
must avenge his father's death and not let his soul be dirtied for 

,-,, , , (Photograph by Girmion) 

Charles de Lorraine, Due de Mayenne 


lack of une belle resolution and a bon coup; to be sure, he continues, 
the strictest Christians say a man should forget offenses, and that 
may be right for monks and anchorites, but not for those who 
wear sword on thigh and make profession of their chivalry. At 
all events, the failure of the first attack on the Admiral made the 
Duke, whether he had been instrumental in that first attack or not, 
the natural instrument for the second. 

But in the plot of the general massacre he had no part. The 
document I have quoted is very explicit on that point. According 
to it, Catherine and Anjou decided between them that the Admiral 
must be finished with; they sent for the Queen's intimate counsel- 
lors, M. de Nevers, the Marechaux Tavannes and De Retz and 
the Chancellor Birague, "but merely to consult with them how 
best to do what my mother and I had decided." Then the little 
group went to see the King, and after long arguments persuaded 
him to agree. He cried out in a violent passion, "Par la mort Dieu, 
since you think the Admiral should be killed, I consent, but all 
the Huguenots in France must also be killed, so that not one 
shall remain to reproach me afterwards." This done, the con- 
spirators worked over the details of the execution of the plan. They 
called in the Prevot des Marchands, and the captains of the guards. 
In this connection, and for the first time, the Duke is mentioned. 
"We made sure of the Prevot des Marchands, of the captains of 
the city districts, and other persons who were thought to be strong 
party men, and we divided up the city districts, designating par- 
ticular individuals to take care of specified persons; M. de Guise 
was designated to kill the Admiral." Tavannes supports this state- 
ment regarding Guise; he says: "M. de Guise est envoy e qutrir . . . 
il lui est permit d' oiler tuer I' admiral, venger la mort de son phe, 
Guise was sent for and permission given him to avenge his father's 

The facts seem to be that the Duchesse de Nemours called in 
her brother d'Aumale to help, and that he made all the arrange- 
ments for putting Maurevert in ambuscade, and that Henri de 


Guise had no part in the assassination, until he was called in when 
a general massacre had been decided on by the Queen and her 
advisers. Of course, he was happy to have a chance to fulfill his 
duty and gratify his revenge* De Thou says that he acted as the 
executive head of the organized bands of murderers, but I find 
no evidence of that. The facts seem to be that he acted under 
explicit orders, first to see that Coligny was killed, second to kill 
or capture Montgomery and his companions in the faubourg 
Saint-Germain. It was Tavannes and Nevers who rode through 
the main part of the town on the Right Bank urging the murderers 
on. Guise did what he was ordered to do, he saw that the Admiral 
was killed, and pursued Montgomery and his band for miles; those 
two assignments done, he did nothing else, he took no further 
part in the massacre. On the contrary, he opened his h6tel to 
Protestant fugitives, took them in under his protection, as many, 
it is said, as a hundred. His mother, the Duchesse de Nemours, 
took in the daughter of her old enemy, the former Chancellor 
THopital. And in the two provinces, Champagne and Burgundy, 
of which d'Aumale and Guise were governors, there were no perse- 
cutions, although in other provinces there were dreadful massacres. 

There is nothing, I think, unless perhaps in the hot and wild 
accusations by enemies of his House, to show that he had any 
concern with the massacre except in killing Coligny and in the 
pursuit of Montgomery, and in both he was acting under the 
King's orders. Evidence of his conduct on other occasions supports 
this view. You remember that when he left Poitiers he bade the 
Commandant not to trouble the Huguenots so long as they obeyed 
the law. And at a meeting of the States-General at Blois (1576- 
1577), when asked to give his opinion as to the right course to 
pursue as to the rebellious Huguenots, he said: 

"So young a soldier as I ought to blush to speak in the presence 
of the experienced generals who surround His Majesty. I feel 
myself more fitted to aid in the execution of their orders and 
follow their advice than to off er any myself. . . . However, people 


think that the King, in order not to give his Protestant subjects 
any cause for suspicion, ought to give them all the assurances 
they may demand . . . and so I think His Majesty ought not to fail 
them in one single point, provided always that the Protestants 
remain quietly in their houses and do not contravene the King's 
will in any way, I beg very humbly to be excused from saying 
more, and His Majesty may be assured that I shall not spare life, 
nor possessions, against any power whatever, in the execution of 
whatever may be decided." 

At that same meeting his brother, Mayenne, rounded out the 
Duke's meaning: 

"Because some hindrance to peace may come from doubt or fear 
that certain of the King's subjects affect to entertain for the safety 
of their persons, I beg the King to forget the past, and embrace 
the Protestants, as if he were their father, and promise, and give, 
them every safeguard." . . . 

When the Duke was serving under Alenjon, the King's younger 
brother, in the capture of La Charite-sur-Loire, where the victors 
entered by a breach, Guise prevented some angry Italian merce- 
naries, irritated by the death of their commander, from taking 
vengeance on the Huguenot garrison, and showed himself "con- 
servateur du droit des gens ct dc la fot donnSe? as Huguenot 
d'Aubigne said. And, at another Huguenot town, Issoire, in the 
same campaign, where he led the assault, while the town was on 
fire and savage soldiers were raging through the streets, he took 
women and children for safety into his tent, and with his own hand 
killed a soldier who was dragging away a young girl by the hair 
of her head. 

In fact, his clemency towards the Huguenots was so marked, so 
notorious, that his enemies asserted that he was trying to bid for 
their support in his ambition to gain the crown; but his enemies 
said against him whatever came to their minds, either that he was 
the incarnation of cruelty, or that he was kind to them because he 
wished their help. The fact remains that he was gentle towards 


them. Shortly after the massacre, a pamphlet published in Paris 

"Why is it that the House of Guise, who (as we know) are 
descended from Charlemagne, and are princes of France, does not 
recover the crown now? It only depends on a little dexterity. If 
they wish to act by force (with all due respect to the King) these 
Gentlemen of Guise can bring as many men into the field as the 
King can. They have as many friends as he, and more cities in- 
cline to their party than to the King's. And if the crown of France 
is to change wearers, they are not so silly or so stupid as not to 
prefer it on their heads than on that of a foreign Prince. ... I have 
had experience of the insecurity under the present reign, and I 
should much rather (if I must speak out) have the crown in the 
Guise family than where it is. ... The Huguenots are disgusted, 
once and for all, with the House of Valois, and in my opinion 
would be very glad, nay, would work, to have the House of Guise 
recover what belongs to it, being well assured that it would leave 
the Huguenots' conscience free in the exercise of their religion, and 
would keep its plighted word. . , . The Guises have already given 
the Huguenots occasion to see that they do not hate them as much 
as people say, for they saved the lives of many great noblemen, of 
the most prominent, and are saving others privily every day. 
Which shows clearly that the members of this family are not so 
black, nor such devils against the Huguenots as they are made out 
to be. Besides, being prudent Princes, they made the King take the 
responsibility, as he deserved, of this barbarous butchery, partly 
not to bear the blame themselves, partly to make sure that when 
the indignation of the nobles and the commons rises high, it shall 
discharge itself on the man who now boasts to have done the deed. 
. . . Both parties smile on you, House of Guise. The great mass 
of the French people want you. The hearts of the nobility and of 
the people are widely alienated from the House of Valois, and 
very bitter against its behaviour; and, on the other hand, they are 


devoted to you, and so attached to your House, that methinks the 
time is ripe." 

The men of the House of Guise were of hot temper and quick 
susceptibilities, very tenacious of the respect due to the descendants 
of Charlemagne, and violent against any inferior that infringed it, 
but they were not cruel, and the Due de Guise, I think from the 
evidence, was quite free from the guilt of the general massacre on 
Saint Bartholomew's day. 


THE most tragic figure in this deviltry is the King, Charles IX. 
He possessed so many good qualities. Brantome calls him "un trts 
grand roy de France" and says that if his great captains "qui 
s'amusarent en ces miserable* guerres civiles" had fought foreign 
nations, the King might have achieved a third, or a half, of the 
greatness, felicity and noble deeds of Charlemagne. He says that 
even as a boy the King was brave, audacious, and full of hardi- 
hood, and wanted to lead his armies himself, but his mother 
would not let him. It is true that he had the ill-balanced Valois 
constitution, and was subject to fits of melancholy and of violent 
anger, so much so that to cure himself he gave up wine for cau 

By nature he was open and frank; it was Albert Gondi, the 
Marechal de Retz, a Florentine, "fin, caut et trinquat, corrompu, 
grand menteur et dissimullateur" who taught him to swear, to 
pretend and to play false. And so he came to think that swearing 
and blasphemy was a gentlemanlike way of speech. He was an 
excellent horseman, loved the chase and wrote a book about it; he 
would get up before dawn, and would call the hounds by voice or 
bugle. And he was very fond of his hunting dogs; some even lay 
under his table at his meals, and slept on the foot of his bed. One 
of his dogs, celebrated by Ronsard, seems to have been a bulldog 
bitch. In fair weather Charles was always outdoors, playing at 
jeu de paume or some active game, pall-mall or jumping, always 
overdoing his strength. He disliked to be indoors, quoting 



Le stjour des maisons, palais et bastimens 
Estoit le sepulchre des vivans, 

Staying in house, palace or hall, 

Is like being buried not living at all. 

Perhaps that is why he took to working furiously at a forge and 
beating out coins on it. 

He was naturally intelligent, and had intellectual tastes; he was 
very fond of poetry, and wrote verses himself. Often, when it 
rained, or was too hot, or in bad weather of any sort, he would 
send for his friends, Ronsard, Dorat, Baif and such, to come to his 
chamber and talk poetry, and he would encourage them to com- 
pose, and he made them read their verses aloud to him. But he 
himself was better at prose, perhaps because M. Jacques Amyot, the 
famous translator of Plutarch, had been his tutor. The poets, 
for their part, were never tired of reciting their obligations to the 
King. Bai'f dedicated a collection of his poems to him: 

Puts que vostre faveur, 6 mon grand Roy, m f inspire 
Les Graces de la Muse; et ma Muse respire 
Sous vostre liberate et bonne royaute, 
Qui la traite et nourrit en gaie libertt, 
Cest h vous que je doy tout ce que j'ay d'ouvrage, 
A vous qui me donnez et moyen et courage f 
Ouvrant de mon metier, faire ce cabinet 
De mes vers assembles. 

Since to your favor, O great King, 
I owe what grace the Muses bring, 
And since my own Muse breathes again 
Under your good and gracious reign, 
Since her you feed, and her bid be 
Gay in her new-found liberty 
To you my work is all beholden, 
You give me means, and me embolden 
To ply my trade, and at your hest 
Gather my verses in this chest. 


The verses seem to me more meritorious for their expressions of 
gratitude than for their poetical excellence; and there is plenty of 
evidence that the poet's gratitude was deserved. In 1570 Bai'f, with 
the help of his friend Joachim Thibaut de Courville, a musician, 
founded an Academic de poesie et de musique, "which was to be a 
company (made up of composers, singers, and players on musical 
instruments, and of respectable auditors), and a school not only to 
serve as a nursery [ptpint&re] from which one day poets and musi- 
cians would come forth, well-taught and trained to give pleasure, 
but also to be a profit to the public," These two friends presented a 
petition to the King, and he granted them a charter and accepted 
the title of Protecteur et Premier Auditeur of the Academy. There 
was opposition in the Parlernent, for some of the members were 
afraid that the Academy would "tend to corrupt, soften, enervate 
and pervert" the French youth. But the King took the matter into 
his own hands and overrode the objections. 

To this academy belonged all the poets of the Pleiade, as well 
as Amadis Jamyn and others. It occupied itself with questions of 
grammar and philology, and with founding a worthy theatre. 
Ba'if, of course, was duly thankful and celebrated the King in 
many verses: 

Ce n'est pas d'aujourdhuy, 6 grand Roy de la France, 
Que vous prouvez d'avoir en voz fats resemblance 
A ce grand Hercules qui la terre purgea 
De monstres et de vice, et au bien la range a. 

It is not only today, great King of France, 
That you in your deeds display resemblance 
To the great Hercules, who purged the earth 
Of monsters and vice and turned it to worth. 

As these poets were good Catholics I presume that the King 
proved his resemblance to Hercules, who purged the earth of 
vice and monsters, by his purgation of the land from heretics. But, 
poor King! he had done that at the instigation of his mother; 


from earliest youth he had been taught to be obedient to her, and 
also to guard his land from heretics. Ronsard had but echoed 
what everybody said to him: 

Vous devez vostre mire humblement honorer, 
La craindre et la servir: qui settlement de m$re 
Ne vous serf pas icy, mats de garde et de fere. 
Apres il faut tenir la loy de vos ayeux, 
Qui jurent Rois en terre et sont la haul aux deux: 
Et garder que le peuple imprime en sa cervelle 
Le curieux discours d'une secte nouvelle. 

You must your mother humbly serve, honor and ear ? 

For she as Mother now attends you, 

And as a Father, too, defends you. 

Next you must keep the law 

By your forefathers given, 

Who once were Kings on earth 

And now are high in Heaven, 

And see that vagaries of a novel sect 

Shall not your people's mind infect. 

The great purification of his realm on that dreadful day had cost 
him sore. His whole nature seems to have been changed by this 
tremendous experience. Brantome says that the old sweetness 
that they used to see on his face was seen no more. Everybody 
noticed this alteration. When M. de la Noue went to see the King 
a courtier said to him, "Remember when you are with the King 
to be very prudent and speak warily, for you will never again 
speak to the kind, benevolent, gracious King that you had before. 
He is wholly changed. He has more sternness now in his counte- 
nance than he ever had sweetness." No wonder that he felt the 
full meaning of Remy Bellau's Discours de la Vanite, when Belleau 
read to him at Fontainebleau the first four chapters, beginning 

De pure vanite la terre est toute pleine, 
Tout n'est que vanite des vanites tres vaine, 


"Vanity, vanity, all is vanity," and had him read it aloud several 
times, and be sure to finish it. Poor fellow! 

However, at first it seemed as if the massacre had been a great 
success; almost all the chiefs, excepting Montgomery, were dead, 
and great numbers of erring men hurried in to acknowledge 
their mistakes and to hear Mass. But after a while the greatness 
of the success was seen to be overestimated. Queen Elizabeth, the 
English nation, the Protestant states of Germany and Scandi- 
navia, were loud in their denunciations; many Catholics were 
shocked and alienated; and in the south and west of France the 
Huguenot ministers, men reared on the Old Testament, and in- 
spired by the successes of the Israelites over Moabites, Amale- 
kites, Amorites and other peoples (all singularly similar to the 
Catholic party), girded themselves, harangued their flocks, and 
gathered their fighting men together. Civil war began again, 
but the Due de Guise does not come to the front of the stage, and 
we need not tarry over the siege of La Rochelle (1572), the election 
of Anjou to the throne of Poland (1573), or the death of Charles 
IX (May, 1574). 

The Due de Guise, of course, took part in the unsuccessful siege 
of La Rochelle, serving under the Due d'Anjou, who was general- 
in-chief . And Brant6me, who was there and saw him intimately, 
records a characteristic anecdote. The Duke was very friendly to 
him, gave him a sword, silver mounted, doing him the honor, 
as Brantome proudly reports, to say that he well deserved to possess 
it as he knew so well how to wield it; and sometimes the Duke 
borrowed Brantome's musket and took a shot at the enemy, in 
order to show the musketeers that their weapons were worthy of 
a duke's handling. Occasionally, though he was twenty-three and 
Brantome nearly forty, he called Brantome "my son," but usually, 
with great politeness, "M. de Bourdeille." The Duke made him 
sit down on the ground beside him in the trenches, and chatted, 
and, what is not a universal practice with a superior in conversation 
with an inferior, listened to what Brantome had to say. On this 


occasion the Duke was talking of men who had been wounded 
and on that account made much of without deserving it. 

The Du\e: We must get ouselves wounded a little in order to 
make ourselves appreciated like those men, and talked about. It 
isn't our fault that we have not been, nor M. Strozzi's, nor mine, 
nor yours. There has not been a danger which we did not try 
to get into, nor an outpost but we were on duty there, and yet 
we have had such bad luck that we can't get aucun petit coup 
heureux [any lucky little blow] to mark us and make us notice- 
able. We shall have to admit that honor is running away from 
us. For my part, I shall have a Mass said tomorrow, when we 
make the assault, to pray God to send me quelque petite heureuse 
harquebusade [some nice little musket ball], so that I may go 
back with greater glory for, at Court and with the ladies, glory 
depends more on blows received than on blows given. 

Brantdme: Sir, those who know you, who have seen you in action, 
both here and in many another place, will always proclaim your 
courage, without the need of wounds; you have had enough. Be 
content. God will send you them at His good pleasure. In the 
meantime your conscience may be bold before the world, even 
before the ladies that you speak of. 

The Du\e: You are right, and that comforts me. However, M. 
de Bourdeille, it remains a fact that, whatever we do, we cannot get 
a wound, and we shall go back to Court, and see the King and the 
ladies, and not be noticed. But when we are there we must stand 
by one another, and if we see one of those wounded gallants strut- 
ting about and showing off, with his arm in a sling, or limping 
with a stick or a crutch, well send him packing, if he has not got 
honest wounds, for we know the circumstances. 

Brantome, who admired the Duke's high spirit immensely, and 
says he was as brave as any man in the world, comments that 


since he desired this little bit of good luck, at the cost of his blood, 
Fortune was very rude and surly to refuse it. But Brantome blamed 
Fortune too soon. Before two years were out she treated the Duke 
handsomely. Within that time the Due d'Anjou had succeeded to 
the throne as Henri III. His brother, Alen^on, had joined the 
Huguenots, and a new civil war was raging; and Paris heard to 
its dismay that the Comte de Thore, one of the sons of Anne de 
Montmorency, who had turned Huguenot, was on the march to- 
wards the Meuse with an advance guard of two or three thousand 
German mters. The poor old Duchess Antoinette fled from Join- 
ville and took refuge in SaintJDizier. The Due de Guise, who was 
Governor of Champagne, hurried to the defense of the province 
(September, 1575) . He had no money, and could get none from 
the King. He wrote to his wife in desperation to raise some. 
"/<? n'ai un sou" he says, and asks her to see if there is any in the 
King's chest, and if there is, not to be afraid but to send it on incon- 
tinently. And he begs her and his sister to send messengers out 
every which way, to stir up all their friends, lords and ladies, who 
could supply men or money. He encourages them not to be afraid, 
saying that the enemy could not take Joinville, and as for himself 
his greatest danger would be to break a wine glass in his hand. 

The Protestant mercenaries, now full three thousand strong, 
crossed the Meuse in the north of Champagne, and, marching 
south past Mezieres, crossed the Aisne, and on towards the Marne. 
The Duke hung upon their heels, and as they were crossing the 
latter river near Dormans he gave the order to attack. He won a 
complete victory, killing many and chasing the rest in rout; but as 
he rode in pursuit of a fleeing reiter the man turned and shot twice 
with his pistol, wounding the Duke in the leg and in the left cheek. 
The Duke was carried from the field, and the loss of his leadership 
enabled some twelve hundred horse of the enemy to escape. For 
two days the Duke could not speak, but surgeons, brought down 
from Paris by his uncle the Cardinal de Guise, took good care of 
him, and after six weeks in bed he was up and about. The wound 

Henri III 

(Photograph by Giraudon) 


in his face left a great scar, and earned him, like his father, the 
proud title of le Balafre. Fortune could not have done him a 
better service. It is said that Henry of Navarre, hearing of the 
Duke's wound, hurried to the spot, and held the Duke's head 
while the surgeons were bleeding him. At this time the two 
princes were great friends, they ate and drank together, slept in 
the same room, went together to masquerades, ballets and carousels, 
went hunting together, played tennis and diced together, made 
calls together on the same ladies, and they rode through the 
streets of Paris on the same horse, the Duke riding on the the 
croup. Alas, the friendship was not perdurable. 

Dormans is scarce sixty miles from Paris, and the news of the 
Duke's victory over the reiters soon reached there; the citizens were 
overjoyed, bells of jubilation were rung, services were held, and 
the King led a procession from the Bourbon Chapel hard by the 
Louvre to the Church of Saint-Germain-TAuxerrois. Henri de 
Guise was the hero of Paris. The old Duchess Antoinette went 
back to Joinville, and sent a servant to the venerable Church of 
Saint Nicolas near Nancy to pray for her grandson's safe recovery. 
Nevertheless, this victory had no effect on the campaign. The 
confederates Huguenots, Politiques, foreign mercenaries with 
the Due d'Aleng on, the King's brother and heir presumptive, at 
their head, were so strong that they were able to dictate their own 
terms, and they did. Henri III had no choice; the treaty forced 
upon him is known as La Paix de Monsieur in honor of the Due 
d'Alen$on, who, as the King's next brother, was known as Mon- 
sieur (May 6, 1576). The Protestants received liberty of worship 
everywhere, they were to have half the judges in every court, the 
nobles were confirmed in all the dignities they claimed, Alengon 
received the counties of Anjou, Touraine and Berry, the victims of 
Saint-Bartholomew were rehabilitated, and the King declared that 
the events of that day had happened to his very great regret and 
displeasure, and he promised to pay the wages of the German 
mercenaries hired by the rebels. 


THE Paix de Monsieur was too much for the Catholics to bear. 
The great mass of the French people were bewildered and indig- 
nant; rebellion had been rewarded, the people who had deserted 
the religion of their fathers and flouted their King, had had the 
fatted calf killed, and were rejoicing in their insolence. This 
Catholic majority felt the great tide of revival that had been rising 
in Latin Europe. The Council of Trent (1545-1563), convoked 
to reconcile conflicting opinions, of course reconciled nothing, but 
it did accomplish much in the way of removing abuses in the 
Church; canons regulated the duties of the bishops, the conduct 
of the clergy, the affairs of nunneries and monasteries, and re- 
stored spiritual standards. Dogmas were defined and hardened, 
and thereby secured the advantages of exactness and fixity. A 
good man need no longer bother his head over theological un- 
certainties, he could find out the truth by consulting the canons. 
More potent still had been the work of the Order of Jesus. That 
great man, Ignatius Loyola, with an unprecedented union of 
practical sagacity and spiritual passion, acting upon the theory 
that war with heresy is not merely the affair of popes, prelates 
and clergy, had conceived the idea of universal conscription, of 
rallying all individuals to militant service, and his disciples had 
gone all over the world, from South America to China, in alien 
countries, even in England, disguised and pursued, to preach his 
doctrines and marshal the faithful. In France the Jesuits had 
become a power. The Cardinal of Lorraine had been of the great- 
est help in bringing them to Paris. Crowned heads, too, realized 



that Protestantism made for independence, democracy, disloyalty 
and rebellion, and deemed it prudent to stand shoulder to shoulder. 

Comforted by these great currents of the Counter Reformation, 
the French Catholics sought strength in banding themselves 
together. They could see that the Huguenots, though a small 
minority, had achieved so much because of their organization, 
and they began to form local leagues. The Catholic Governor in 
Peronne, Picardie, took the lead. He proclaimed: "It is high time 
for us, in order to forestall and thwart the treacherous plots of the 
heretics, to form a Holy Christian Union, by effecting close agree- 
ment and complete understanding among the orthodox loyal 
subjects of the King, for that is the only way God has now left us 
to restore His holy service and also loyalty to His Majesty." 

This was the beginning of the League that carried the fortunes 
of the House of Guise so high, and all but seated it on the throne 
of France. From Picardie the notion spread. Adherents were 
recruited all over the country and its principles adopted. In Lan- 
guedoc, for instance, the articles of the covenant ran thus: 

"We promise under oath to use all means we can to restore and 
maintain the exercise of our Catholic Religion, Apostolic and 
Roman, in which we have been nurtured and in which we wish 
to live and die. We will raise a goodly number of soldiers, horse 
and foot, and also money to provide means to equip them. We will 
supplicate His Majesty to validate and approve this, inasmuch 
as the soldiers are to be employed for necessary and holy purposes. 
We will establish communications with neighbor provinces, so 
that all can aid one another. And if any Catholic, after having 
been requested to enter into the present association, makes any 
difficulty, or shuffles and dillydallies, he shall be deemed an enemy 
of God, a deserter from his religion, a rebel to his King, a traitor 
to his Country, and, by the universal consent of good men, he shall 
be abandoned and ostracized by all, and left exposed to all the in- 
sults and oppressions that may come upon him." 


Here is another form of the covenant in another province: 

"W.e bind ourselves to employ our property and our lives for 
the success of the Holy League, and to fight to the death those who 
try to block us. All those that sign will be wards of the League, and 
if they are attacked, troubled or molested we will defend them, 
even by force, against anybody whatsoever. If any, after taking 
the oath, shall renounce, they will be treated as rebels, refractory 
to the will of God; and those that exact vengeance for it shall not 
be disturbed. A chief shall be elected, whom all the confederates 
will be obliged to obey, and they that refuse shall be punished ac- 
cording to his judgment. And we will make every effort to pro- 
cure partisans, and arms and all necessaries, for this Holy League, 
each one according to his power. They that refuse to join will be 
treated as enemies, and attacked with weapons in our hands. 
The chief, of his own authority, shall decide all disputes and dis- 
agreements that may come up among the confederates, and no one 
may have recourse to the ordinary magistrates except by his 

Besides these local associations, a union of princes, lords and 
gentlemen proclaimed, in the name of the Trinity, their deter- 
mination "to establish the law of God in its entirety, to restore 
and maintain His holy service according to the form and ritual 
of the Holy Catholic Church, Apostolic and Roman"; but they 
added that they should uphold the King, with the obedience due 
him from his subjects, but without prejudice to what might 
be ordered by the States-General, and they made a further pro- 
vision about restoring to the provinces their ancient liberties and 
franchises, "as they were in the time of Clovis, the first Christian 
King, or in a still better form, if such could be found," 

This reference to Clovis had more in it than met the ear. The 
House of Valois and the House of Bourbon went back to Saint 
Louis, and further to Hugh Capet, and there they stopped; but, 


as the name Clovis suggested, there was an older dynasty, and 
marked with a greater glory than that of Hugh Capet, the Carlo- 
vingian; and, of that great stock, the House of Guise was the most 
available. The King had no children, and his sole surviving broth- 
er, Alengon, had none; a curse seemed to lie on the family. The 
next heir was Henry of Navarre, now a Huguenot once more, 
and a heretic was not to be endured upon the throne of a long 
line of Most Christian Kings, 

No one can doubt that devotion to the ancient religious faith 
was the moving power in these organizations, and there is also no 
doubt that the great nobles sought to use them to their own ad- 
vantage; the restoration of ancient provincial liberties is a mere 
euphemism for restoration of ancient feudal privileges; neverthe- 
less, it is also beyond question that many of the nobles, and cer- 
tainly the Guises, were sincere in their disapproval and condemna- 
tion of heretics and secessionists. It also clearly appears from an 
analysis of these articles of confederation that, between the States- 
General, obviously regarded as the supreme source of authority, and 
the revivified feudal barons, the power of the King would be 
greatly curtailed. The King, reasonably enough, was alarmed, 
and, turning the matter over in his mind, conceived what he 
thought a very clever idea. He would oust the Due de Guise from 
the position of head of the League, and become its chief himself. 

So he wrote to the governors of the provinces commending the 
League, but changed the covenant so as to preserve intact the pre- 
rogatives of the Crown and put his will, in place of that of the 
States-General, as the source of law and authority. He thought 
he had jockeyed the Guises, and that by means of the League 
he could raise an army reckoning up its numbers in the rosy 
light of hope and then with that large army he would crush 
the Huguenots, and the Politiques, and set the throne high above 
the dangers that had threatened it for years, and then he would 
be free to enjoy life with his minions. He was like the milkmaid 
with her pot au Icdt. The milk was spilled. 


I need not narrate the meeting of the States-General in 1576. 
The Huguenots stayed away, and a majority of the Third Estate 
demanded that Protestant worship be suppressed, and all the 
ministers banished. That was not conciliatory. Fighting began 
again, the Huguenots had the worst of it, and had to accept a 
marked diminution of privileges (La paix de Bergerac, Sept. 17, 
1577). And the King, thinking himself in a position of strength, 
and jealous of the House of Guise, ordered all leagues of every 
kind to be dissolved. He said "he had made a resolution not to 
permit any worship but that of the Roman Catholic Church, as 
he had sworn at his coronation, solemnly, before the body of 
Jesus Christ when he took Communion, and before the King of 
Navarre, and all the peers and people; and he was going to declare 
that he had granted the late Edict of Pacification (the Paix de 
Monsieur), only in order to bring his brother Alenfon back, and 
chase the foreign mercenaries out of the Kingdom, in the hope 
that such action would bring some repose to the Kingdom, but 
always with the intention of restoring the Catholic religion as soon 
as he could as the only one, as it had been in the time of the Kings 
his predecessors. And he wished everybody to understand that he 
would not allow any more any worship contrary to his coronation 
oath; he felt that any promise that he might make contrary to 
that oath was of no obligation." 

The Estates approved the King's plan for one religion only, but 
refused to raise any moneys to accomplish the plan. Help came 
from the other side. Politiques and Huguenots fell apart, Alen$on 
became reconciled to his brother and resumed his position as heir 
presumptive, the Marechal Damville, head of the Politiques, also 
was won over; Henry of Navarre tried to be half Protestant, half 
Catholic; and the fighting which had begun again went against 
the rebels. 


THE story of these religious wars, with their intermittances, their 
edicts, their cruelties and absurdities, becomes more and more 
tedious; I doubt if anybody, however good a Catholic, however 
devout a Protestant, would read it, were it not that these three 
men, Henry of Valois, Henry of Bourbon, and Henry of Guise, 
by their contrasts of character, bring a vivid dramatic interest to 
the dull boredom of religious 'and political quarrels. Henry of 
Navarre is one of the heroes of high romance. Gay he had in- 
herited the humeur libre vwe enjouee of his motherbold, self- 
confident, endowed with all the gifts of manner, bearing, word and 
gesture that make a man attractive to other menfor he was essen- 
tially a man's man, though women, too, found him attractive, 
and he them intelligent, wary, a sound mind in a sound body, 
Henry of Navarre was a king among a thousand. His mother fol- 
lowed the nurture that commended itself to Montaigne, who likely 
enough had Henry of Navarre in his mind, "Harden your boy to 
sweat, to bear cold, and wind and sun, and dangers that he should 
despise; take from him all softness and luxury of bed, clothes, 
eating and drinking accustom him to all sorts of things, so that 
he shall not be a beau gargon [a fop] or a dameret [a philanderer],, 
but a vigorous, lusty fellow." Not tall, not handsome the Bour- 
bons were singularly uncomely to look upon his body had been 
trained, from the time he could toddle, in all athletic exercises, so 
that physically as well as mentally Navarre became an admirable 
guerrilla chief, and from that a great political leader. 
But he is not more than a secondary personage in my story, 



and I pass on to Henri de Valois, one of the most singularly inter- 
esting personages on the stage of history. Judged by the conven- 
tional standards of social morality, he is to be condemned, dam- 
nable in the strict sense of the word, and he always has been 
damned by historians, but for a psychologist he must be most 
acceptable on account of the extraordinary blending of qualities, 
waywardly combined by nature and fortune, in his character. 

He was born in 1551, the child of a simple-minded, phlegmatic 
French father and a subtle, clever, deceitful Italian mother, a 
woman governed by instinct and ambition. Probably his child- 
hood was not very happy; palaces are not usually adapted to 
making little children, or older people, happy. However, his 
earliest recollections must have been of a tall handsome lady, calm, 
collected and kind, with gentle white hands, who came to give 
advice about his nurture and bringing up, for Diane de Poitiers 
was very ready to do what she could for Henry the Second's chil- 
dren; Catherine de M^dicis was jealous, but Diana was not. 

The child learned to speak Italian as well as French, for his 
mother had a train of Italian attendants, and he showed early a 
taste for things of the mind. He had the best preceptor, perhaps, 
that France could give, Jacques Amyot, famous for his transla- 
tion of Plutarch, was a gentleman, a scholar, endowed with the 
delicate qualities of mind that gave a charm to whatever he wrote. 
Queen Marguerite of Navarre had appointed him professor of 
Latin and Greek at the University of Bourges, for he was the sort 
of man she liked, a religious man, Catholic without unreasonable- 
ness, and there he stayed a dozen years; and finally, Henry II 
appointed him preceptor of his sons. Of these Henry was the 
cleverest. Amyot speaks of his ardent desire to learn and under- 
stand serious subjects, and says that he had the quick intelligence 
of his grandfather Francois, and with a patience in listening, and 
in reading and writing, that Francois did not have. As we look 
back on his reign, it is odd to think of this studious, intellectual 
boy, reading Plutarch's Lives Epaminondas and Brutus, Aris- 


tides and Cato and seeking under Amyot's guidance to take the 
lessons to heart, and he seems to have acquired for a time a violent 
passion for glory. 

The boy had many gifts: his voice was agreeable, like his 
mother's, and he talked well, and, more than that, had an ora- 
torical facility, almost eloquence; he was well made, graceful, 
and with much adolescent charm. Although less fond of poetry 
than his brother Charles, he liked it and wished to enjoy it in- 
telligently, he wished to be a cultivated gentleman. Even when 
he became King, and had heretics and rebellions on his hands, 
he took up the study of Latin which he had neglected as a boy, 
and read Polybius and Tacitus. Italian scholars in attendance on 
the Queen used to discuss Machiavelli with him. He liked the 
arts and patronized them. In spite of his fanatical Catholicism, he 
protected Bernard Palissy, the famous potter, and Henri Estienne, 
the hellenist and philologian, although they were Huguenots. 

His regard for poetry, and his patronage, or hoped-for patronage, 
was recognized by all the chief poets of the time. Ba'if dedicated 
his Amours Ac Baif to him while he was still Due d'Anjou, 

Prince, Grand Due . . . 

Preux, courageux, vaillant, constant et sage! 

saying that a poem that celebrated Anjou's military glory would 
have been more suitable. And when Henri, already King of 
Poland, came back to France, Baif was ready with his welcome, 

noble Henry debonnairel 

and with prophecies that unfortunately were not to come true. 
Another poem celebrates the. King's arrival and congratulates 
France. Life has its little ironies. 

Grdces h man Roy debonndre 
Son regne un stick nous vient faire 
. . . rare en son bonheur. 


The poets really believed that he bon, gracieux et Uenjaiteur 
would bring back Saturn's reign and the golden age. I know 
that a poet, Secretaire* de la chanibre du Roy, is not regarded as an 
impartial witness. But, indeed, the young, gifted, gracious King 
seemed admirable to his loyal subjects. Like Bai'f, they approved 
of the assassination of Coligny, and believed that Coligny's soul 
was suifering torments among the damned. It is hard to forget 
our humane, and our Protestant, traditions, and Macaulay's lines, 
"Good Coligny's hoary hair all dabbled in his blood," and realize 
that the loyal Catholics looked on the Huguenot leaders as we 
do upon the felon gangs that infest our cities, and naturally ap- 
plauded Anjou's doings on St. Bartholomew's Day. At all events, 
Henri III appeared as a patron of literature and learning, and con- 
tinued his brother's favour towards the young Academy. The 
King used to go out to the house in the faubourg Saint-Marcel, 
where the Academy met, and listen to music, which he appreciated 
h merveille, and to poetry. But, under the King's guidance, the 
character of the Academy changed, passing from poetry and music 
to learning; it then would meet twice a week, and experts would 
discuss some abstruse subject proposed beforehand, such as whether 
the moral or the intellectual virtues were the better. 

This was probably the reason that Remy Belleau dedicated to 
the King his poems on precious stones. Dorat, too, is full of the 
King's praises. Ronsard, likewise, is in accord; he, too, foresees 
a golden age when 

La Paix et les Vertus au monde fleuriront: 
Jupiter et Henry I'univers partiront, 

and predicts that after this life the King will mount to Heaven, 
and drink nectar at the table of the gods. Philippe Desportes 
(1546-1600) is another. And here we come upon another side of 
the King's character. Plutarch's heroes sink below the horizon, the 
star of Venus rises, and Henri d'Anjou is all for voluptuous ways. 
Desportes, under the propriety of fantastic names, celebrated the 


Prince's amours. The Spanish ambassador wrote to Philip II that 
the Due d'Anjou "is always surrounded by women; one holds his 
hands, another caresses his ears, and in that fashion he passes a 
great deal of his time." But he seems once to have been really in 
love, with Marie de Cleves, wife of the Prince de Conde the 
younger, and sister to the wife of Henry de Guise and to the 
Duchess of Nevers. However, when he came back from the siege 
of La Rochelle, on his election to the throne of Poland (1572), 
the lady had been reconciled to her husband and was on her good 
behaviour. The poor young man besought her sister, the Duchess 
of Nevers, to intercede for him: 

"Madame," he wrote, "I am more miserable than ever I was, 
and I beseech you, as you are my friend and know how much I 
wish to do anything for you, arrange matters according to my 
needs. I entreat you with tears in my eyes, and my hands clasped. 
You know what love is. Judge if I deserve to be so treated by your 
sister. ... If she treats me with such indignity after the promises 
she has made me, I shall be so put out with her that the justice of 
my cause will enable me to break with her forever. I will do any- 
thing, I am so wild. I tell you that I cry for hours. Have pity on 

But when he came back from Poland she was dead. He spent a 
week sighing and weeping. He put on deep mourning with little 
death's-heads sewn to the ribbons of his shoes and to the points 
of his hose, and wore a cross and earrings that had belonged to 
her. These mementoes, however, his sensible mother speedily re- 
moved. Not very long afterwards (February, 1575) he married 
Louise de Vaudemont, a princess of Lorraine. And now the 
effeminate side of his character became more and more dominant. 
One wonders if the murder of Conde and the massacre of Saint 
Bartholomew exercised some strange transmutation in his inner 
being, and converted him into a sort of hermaphrodite. He dressed 
very much like a woman, wore earrings again, arranged his jacket 
open at the neck, covered his fingers with rings, and paraded 


before the Court all sorts of foppish millinery. He gathered about 
him a band of dissolute young men known as his minions. Much 
evil, and justly, was* said of them, but it should be added that they 
were courageous. D'Aubigne has left us his opinion concerning 
the King and these friends, 

Degenert Henry, hypocrite, bigot! 


Tes prestres par la rue a granges troupes conduicts 
N'ont paurtmt pue celer l f ordure de tcs nuicts; 
Les crimes plus obscures n'ont pourtant pue se faire 
Qu'ils n'esclattent en I' air aux bouches du vulgaire; 
Des citoyens oisifs l f ordinaire discours 
Est de solenniser les vices de nos Cours 

* * 

Le pich6 de sodome et le sanglant inceste* 

Degenerate Henry, bigot, hypocrite! 


Your priests, through streets in great troops led, 
Cannot conceal the foulness of your bed. 
The darkest crimes that can be done 
Are bruited on the lips of everyone, 
And tongues of idlers are taught 
To celebrate the vices of the Court 


Tis better said than guessed 
Foul sodomy and sickening incest. 

These accusations of d'Aubign, who as a stout Huguenot is not 
slow to proffer them, were generally believed, and help account 
for the dislike and contempt into which the King had fallen. 
The best known of these gallants are Qu^lus, Maugiron, SaintJLuc, 
d'Arques, Saint-Mesgrim and pre-eminently, for they were the 
King's special favorites, d'fipernon and Joyeuse, who were made 
dukes and peers, and were loaded with gifts, offices and honors. 
You may see in the Louvre a painting of this period that shows a 
group of lords and ladies dancing a round dance in the centre of 


a ballroom, the men wearing moustachios and little pointed beards, 
ruffs, doublet and hose, and the women with great open collars 
trimmed with lace, stomachers and hooped skirts, while off to one 
side stands the King, pointing down at one of his little dogs 
fetits chiens damerets with the Queen and the Queen Mother 
beside him. He was also subject to a sort of neurasthenia, which 
affected him emotionally in religious services. He joined a com- 
pany of penitents and made his courtiers join him who marched 
through the streets clothed in white linen, with lights and sad 
music, and some beat themselves with thongs till the blood came. 

Among his caprices was a taste for dogs, or rather for dogs 
in great numbers: chiens de lions, pugs, and others. The King 
heard that a gentleman owned two most charming pugs, so he 
asked to see them and coveted them so much that he made the 
owner a member of the Ordre de Saint-Esprit in order to obtain 
them. D'Aubigne says he spent more than a hundred thousand 
crowns a year upon dogs, and that other historians double that 
sum, and that he owned over a thousand, and took two hundred 
round with him, each pack of eight having a governess and 
assistant, and a pack horse, so that two hundred dogs had six 
hundred horses, at a cost altogether of eight hundred francs a day. 
He asked the Venetian ambassador to buy a couple of these chiens 
de lions, whiskered and woolly and white, or, if that was not pos- 
sible, then red and white. And he and his Queen used to drive 
about the streets of Paris, and of the neighborhood, looking for 
dogs that they might like. 

De Thou, writing years afterwards in calm reflection, says: 
"This Prince had all the fine qualities of body and mind one 
could wish for in a great King, a sincere attachment to the religion 
of his forefathers, much zeal for justice, consummate prudence, a 
majestic bearing joined to a sweetness and kindness beyond com- 
pare. But he was too inclined to effeminacy and pleasure, and this 
single fault was enough to tarnish all his virtues." It was his weak- 
ness for his minions that pulled him down. 


THE Edict of 1577, like other edicts, proved powerless to exorcise 
the seven devils of hatred, malice, distrust, envy, pride, deceit and 
uncharitableness that had made their home in the fair land of 
France. Historians call the new wars numbers Six and Seven. 
They are best forgotten, although some names are pleasing: 
La Paix de Monsieur, La Paix du Roi, La Guerre des Amoureux. 
Huguenot tradition ascribes, as is most justly due, great cruelty 
to the Catholics; but let us glance for a moment at what the Calvin- 
ists were doing. 

In Languedoc, for instance, bands of former Protestant sol- 
diers terrorized the country, pillaging wherever they could; they 
attacked castles, looted churches, held travellers for ransom. These 
freebooters lived together very democratically, captains, private 
soldiers and ministers of the Gospel eating and drinking and rob- 
bing together only the captains seem to have taken most of the 
booty. Captain Fournier garnered fifty thousand crowns. Captain 
Noguier, in emulation, "omitted nothing that a cruel, inhuman 
man can do." A third "marched to and fro for eight months, mur- 
dering, massacring, robbing, pillaging, holding peasants to ransom, 
and, contrary to all rules of war, holding young ladies to ransom; 
did more than a hundred thousand crowns' worth of damage 
to the country, and shed so much innocent blood that it is in- 
credible that God will not take vengeance." 

The Estates of Languedoc reported that "the earth is wet with 
the blood of peasants, their wives and children; towns and coun- 
try houses ajre deserted, ruined and for the most part burned, and 



all since the Edict of Pacification. . * . This is not the work of 
Tartars or Turks or Muscovites, but done by men born and bred 
in this province, who profess what is called the Reformed religion, 
a religion that, by their monstrous wickedness, they render in- 
famous and odious to God and man." And (as d'Aubigne re- 
counts) some of the Huguenot soldiers did not hesitate to attack 
other Huguenot soldiers, who were escorting Huguenot merchants 
from the city of La Rochelle to a neighboring fair; and so on. 
It is a dull story of brutality. 

And then, of a sudden, Clio turns a page; and an intelligible 
drama, with the three Henrys as the chief characters, starts up. 
One then remembers how the three, as boys, were at the College 
of Navarre together, how they were together at the famous col- 
loquy at Bayonne, how they amused themselves together at Court 
flirting with Mme de Sauves and other fair ladies, and taking part 
in all sorts of festivities. 

On June 10, 1584, the King's only brother, the Due d'Alen$on, 
died without issue, and, as the King himself had no children, in 
spite of passionate pilgrimages made by his wife to Our Lady of 
Chartres, Henry of Navarre, a heretic, became heir presumtive to 
the throne. And then, as Davila says, "Dalle ceneri del Duca 
d'Alansone tornarono a riaccendersi le javellc gia come semimorte 
della Legahom the ashes of the Due d'Alen^on the half-extin- 
guished sparks of the League began to revive and burn afresh." 
The King's edict against all leagues became a mere scrap of paper, 
the League grew overnight in favour and in strength; and it was 
no longer possible for the King to put himself at its head that 
office was occupied by Henri de Guise. So the three Henrys stood 
confronting each other, King of France, King of the League, King 
of Navarre. The King of France, with his minions, his voluptuous 
ways, his gross effeminacy, had alienated the affections and the 
trust of his subjects; his party was weak, his position uncertain, 
his throne insecure. He had one hope: if he could persuade 
Navarre to renounce his Calvinistic doctrines and turn Catholic, 


he would knock the main prop from under the League, and then he 
could snap his perfumed fingers at the Due de Guise. He sent 
his minion, the Due d'fipernon, to Pau upon that mission, with 
a royal escort of more than fifteen hundred horsemen. There 
were not lacking counsellors who advised Navarre to comply 
"better the crown of France than a couple of psalms." But Navarre 
was wary. He did not dare risk losing the support of his Huguenot 
army, and he did not dare trust the King. He chose the psalms. 

The Guises felt that Fortune was smiling on them, and that 
they must be ready to take Opportunity by the forelock. They 
came together the Duke, his brothers Mayenne and the Cardinal 
de Guise, his cousins d'Aumale and d'Elbeuf, his kinsmen, Nevers 
and Mercoeur, the Queen's brother and agreed that the League 
must take definite cognizance of the situation, it must declare 
that a heretic could not inherit the crown, and therefore it must 
have somebody to put in Navarre's place. 

Whatever secret ambitions the Due de Guise may have nursed 
in his breast, it was premature to disclose them, and it was beyond 
cavil that the Bourbons were next in line to the throne. Henry of 
Navarre was disqualified as a heretic, and that left his father's 
brother, the Cardinal de Bourbon, an old gentleman of sixty-six, 
as the constitutional heir. The next step was to secure the support 
of the great Catholic power, Spain. Henri de Guise had long 
been on terms of intimacy with King Philip. Both were zealous 
Catholics, both supported Mary Queen of Scots against England, 
and both were bitter enemies of the French Huguenots. Years 
before, the Spanish ambassador had advised King Philip to pension 
the Duke: "It would be," he said, "a good plan to put the Duke 
under obligation, taking into consideration his rank, his way of 
life, his personal qualities, the greatness of his House (for every- 
body acknowledges him to be the chief man in France), and the 
fact that he is well disposed to the King of Spain, and has already 
done things for him, and is a man able, in matters as grave as 
those likely to arise, to render in a single day benefits that would 


outweigh what would be given him in a long course of years." 
The King liked better to dangle hopes before greedy eyes than to 
dispense money; but it was believed that he assigned the Duke 
a pension of fifty thousand crowns. There was nothing in this that 
transgressed the accepted code of ethics. Coligny and Conde had 
made treaties with England and taken money from Elizabeth, 
and, whether unwittingly as they said, or not, had surrendered 
Havre to her; Henry of Navarre took money from her and con- 
sidered surrendering Brest. 

At any rate, on the last day of the year, December 31, 1584, these 
Leaguers, in person or by proxy, met ambassadors from King 
Philip in the great chateau at Joinville, and entered into a treaty 
with them. So long as the chateau existed, a projecting upper 
chamber on the facade towards the town was pointed out as the 
place of meeting. It was agreed to maintain the Catholic religion 
in France, to extirpate heresy, to exclude all heretics from the 
throne, to acknowledge the Cardinal de Bourbon as the nearest 
legitimate successor to Henri III, to reform abuses in the Church, 
to accept and enforce the decrees of the Council of Trent, to re- 
nounce all alliance with the Turks, to stop all French depredations 
upon Spanish commerce, to support Philip against rebels in the 
Netherlands, and restore to him the city of Cambrai (the one 
conquest Alenfon had made); and Philip promised to support 
the League with troops and a subvention of fifty thousand crowns 
a month to pay for the war as soon as it should begin. 

This treaty is contrary to modern ethics; but it could hardly 
have been considered so then; at least there was no one to point 
the finger of scorn. Rumour said that two weeks earlier (December 
15, 1584) at Magdebourg, a treaty had been made between Queen 
Elizabeth, Henry of Navarre, the Prince de Conde, several German 
princes, certain Swiss confederations, and the City of La Rochelle, 
to demand of the King to maintain edicts favorable to the Protes- 
tants. Whatever amount of falsity there was in this rumour, the 
Protestant chiefs were certainly seeking help from Queen Eliza- 


beth and any other foreign Protestants who could help them. 

The Guises were undoubtedly acting in accordance with the 
wishes of the great majority of Frenchmen in their resolution to 
keep a heretic from the throne. In Paris,, whether the first impulse 
came from religious patriots or from Guisards, the burghers, mainly 
citizens of the middle class,, all stout Catholics, terrified by stories 
of what Protestant rulers had done to Catholics in England, estab- 
lished an association of their own; and, in cities all over France, 
branches of the League sprang up, in fierce determination to keep 
a heretic from the throne. Whatever personal ambitions Henri 
de Guise and his family nourished in their hearts, the power of the 
movement came from the fear of the Catholic population that 
their religion would be in danger if a Protestant King came to 
the throne. By March the organization of the League had been 
so far completed that the leaders launched a full proclamation of 
their purposes. 

The King was on tenterhooks; he was between the devil and 
the deep sea. He did not know whether to join the Huguenots 
and fight the League, or join the League and fight the Huguenots. 
He shuffled about, and wriggled, but needs must. The League 
knew its own mind, had force at its back, and the King capitu- 
lated. He did what they asked. He revoked all the earlier edicts of 
pacification; he forbade all exercise of the Protestant religion; 
ordered its ministers to leave the Kingdom immediately, and its 
other adherents to apostatise or leave within six months; he de- 
clared Protestants incapable of holding any public charge what- 
ever, and demanded the surrender of their cities of safety. He 
acknowledged that the League had acted from religious zeal. He 
agreed to pay the wages of the mercenary foreigners hired by the 
League, He granted as a security to the Cardinal de Bourbon the 
city of Soissons, with sixty cavalry men and thirty harquebusiers; 
to the Due de Guise the cities of Verdun, Toul, Saint-Dizier, with 
their usual garrisons, also Chalons-sur-Marne with fifty halber- 
diers; to Mayenne the city of Beaune and the Castle at Dijon; to 


d'Aumale, 1'Esprit-de-Rue; to d'Elbeuf, the government of Bour- 
bonnais, and so forth (Edict of Nemours, July, 1585). It is said 
that the motives of men are mixed, that their zeal for the good 
of the commonwealth is usually tempered by an alloy of personal 
ambition. That may be so; but it would be very unjust to the Guises 
not to grant that zeal for the traditional Church, for all that they 
had been taught to hold sacred by their mother, by their old 
grandmother who had just died, and by all their associations, was 
the dominant motive of their action. They have been held up to 
hatred and contempt so long by Protestants, and persons who sym- 
pathise with Protestantism, that their religious patriotism is rarely 

This Edict was a terrible blow to the Huguenots. It is said that, 
when Henry of Navarre heard the news, "the part of his moustache 
on the side where he had rested his head on his hand turned white 
almost on the instant." 


THE Edict o Nemours was a promise by the King to the League 
that he would suppress heresy, and that was tantamount to a prom- 
ise to make war, for the Huguenots were not of a mind to turn 
Catholic or to be exiled, ministers and flocks together. And war 
did come, known as the War of the Three Henrys, 

The Protestant world was alarmed; it raised an army to support 
the Huguenots. Queen Elizabeth and the German Princes helped, 
and a strong force of Germans and Switzers marched into Cham- 
pagne, meaning to cross France and join the rebels in the west. 
The King prepared three armies: one, which he gave to Guise 
to oppose the foreign mercenaries, and left pitifully weak in men 
and equipment; the second under his minion, the Due de Joyeuse, 
to destroy Henry of Navarre; and the third for himself. His hope 
was that Joyeuse, with his excellent army, accompanied by all the 
young Catholic gallants, would defeat Navarre, that the Guises 
and the foreigners would destroy one another, and he come in to 
triumph over the surviving invaders. But luck was against him. 
Joyeuse and his fashionable gallants were routed and slain in the 
battle of Coutras (October, 1587), the Due de Guise won victories 
over the Germans at Vimory and Anneau, and all he himself did 
was to bid fipernon buy off the Switzers and to send an escort to 
protect them from attack on their way home. And whom had 
the King rewarded? Guise? No. He made his worthless favorite 
fipernon Admiral of France, and also conferred on him the gov- 
ernment of Normandy, a post usually given to a member of the 
royal family or at least to a Prince of the Blood. Nevertheless, the 



Duke of Guise had his reward. As Davila, who was there, a boy 
of twelve at the time, says: 

"All conduced to the glory of the Duke. He received unbeliev- 
able applause from everyone, particularly from the Parisians; and 
his name, as immortal, was celebrated by the tongues and pens of 
all his partisans. . . The city was filled with pamphlets, political 
discourses, satirical verses, fabulous tales, that for the most part 
vilified the name of the Due d'fipernon and also redounded to the 
contempt and shame of His Majesty. And, contrariwise, all the 
streets, all the corners, of Paris resounded with the praises of the 
Due de Guise. A thousand writers celebrated him in prose and 
verse, calling him a new David, a new Moses, liberator of the 
Catholics, pillar and buttress of the Holy Church. Preachers, in 
their usual manner but with greater freedom, filled the people's 
ears with wonders, with the miracles, so they call them, of this 
new Gideon, come into the world for the salvation of France. 
These things flowed out from the city of Paris, and spread over all 
the provinces, as blood from the heart flows into all the members, 
until they were endued with the same notions in favor of the 
League, and to the disadvantage of the King." 

Encouraged by all this, Guise resolved to make the King keep 
the promises contained in the Edict of Nemours. The King 
squirmed, he tried to evade, he made what the Duke described as 
"a world of extraordinary offers, that I can only compare to the 
temptations that Satan proposed to Our Lord ... but I am sure 
that good angels will bear me up and turn aside the evil that my 
enemies would like to do me." Then the city of Paris took matters 
into its own hands; it perfected its organization and made most 
revolutionary plans. A spy told this to the King, and the King 
ordered the Marechal de Biron to bring up the Swiss mercenaries 
in his pay to Lagny in the neighborhood of Paris. The Parisian 
Leaguers in great alarm begged the Duke to come into the city 


and protect them from the King's soldiers. The King forbade 
him, but no sooner had the King's envoy gone than the Duke 
mounted his horse and with a handful of attendants rode post- 
haste to Paris, 

He arrived at Saint-Denis on the night of Sunday,, May 8, and 
the next morning, about noon, rode into Paris by the Porte Saint- 
Denis. At first he avoided recognition; he pulled down the brim 
of his hat, and wrapped his cloak round his chin; but, once in 
the city, a young gentleman of his suite cocked up the Duke's 
hat and pushed the cloak back, saying gaily it was time to make 
himself known. He then had but seven in his company, but (I 
quote Davila) "As a little snowball rolling downhill goes growing 
so fast that at last it is like a great hill, so now people rushed out 
of their shops and houses with cheers to follow him, and before 
he had traversed half the city more than thirty thousand were fol- 
lowing him. And so great was the press that he could hardly 
make his way. The hurrahs rent the sky: never was Vive k Roil 
shouted so loud as they shouted Vive Guise! Salutations, thanks, 
obeisance came thick on all sides, some kissed the skirts of his 
cloak; those not near enough to touch, gesticulated with delirium, 
others adored him as if he were a saint, others touched him with 
their rosaries and then kissed them and put them to their eyes 
and foreheads; women showered flowers from the windows and 
blessed his coming. The Duke, smiling, waved his hand, looked 
gaily around, spoke flattering words, his head unbonneted, and 
neglecting no art to win popular applause. 5 ' 

He rode direct to the Hotel de Soissons (on the site of the 
Bourse), the Queen Mother's palace built for her sixteen years 
before by Jean Bullant, and dismounted. The Queen's female 
dwarf happened to be looking out of a window and saw him, and 
went and told the Queen that M, de Guise was at the door. The 
Queen would not believe it, and said the dwarf deserved a whipping 
for telling a lie. The next moment she discovered it to be true, 
and was so much disturbed that she was seen to tremble and 


change color. The Duke behaved with the greatest deference; and 
she, not knowing what to say, murmured that she was glad to 
see him but that she had rather have seen him at some other time. 
He answered, very quietly but with a proud bearing, that he was 
the King's loyal subject, and having heard calumnies against him- 
self and that things were being done against religion and against 
honorable men in the city, he had come to prevent disturbance 
and exculpate himself, or to give his life for Holy Church and 
the Commonweal Then, while he was paying his respects to her 
ladies-in-waiting, she sent Luigi Davila (a relation of the historian 
who records this interview), one of her gentlemen, to the King 
to notify him that the Duke had arrived and that she would soon 
bring him to the Louvre. 

The King was in his cabinet with the Marechal de Bellievre, 
the Abbe d'Elbene and Monsignore Villequier; he was so taken 
aback by the news that he covered his face and leaned on the 
table. Then he questioned Davila on every particular, and bade 
him tell the Queen Mother privily to detain the Duke as long as 
possible. An Italian colonel, Alfonso Ornano, coming in that 
moment, the King said: "ML de Guise has just come, although 
I sent him word not to come. Tell me, Colonel, if you were in 
my place, and you had sent him an order as I did, and he paid 
no attention to it, what would you do?" "Sire," he answered, "it 
seems to me that there is but one question here: do you regard M. 
de Guise as your friend or your enemy?" The King said nothing 
except by a gesture that gave the others to understand clearly what 
he thought. Then the Colonel said, "Sire, I think I understand 
your Majesty's mind. If that is so, and if you will honor me with 
this task, without further trouble to yourself I will lay his head 
at your feet today, or I will put it in whatever place you may 
please to direct; and if any man stir a finger, it shall be to his own 
destruction. And for the execution of this, I put my life and my 
honor in your hands." Abbe d'Elbene approved and quoted per- 
cutiam pastorem et dispergentur oves (smite the shepherd and the 


sheep shall be scattered). But Villequier, Bellievre and Cheverny, 
the Chancellor, who came in then, said no, that it would be too 
dangerous, the people would rise, and the Louvre was not fully 
prepared for defense. 

Meanwhile Catherine de Medicis, who was not very well, got 
into her sedan chair and, accompanied by the Duke, went to the 
Louvre and, in order to avoid the array of guards, passed on to 
the little gate by the tennis court; the Duke, clad in a doublet of 
white damask, with a cloak of black cloth and boots of buffalo 
leather, walked on foot, holding in his hand his large hat with a 
green plume, and bowing right and left while the people cheered 
Vive le Due de Guise! and women pressed to touch the hem of his 
garments, crying out they were safe now he had come; some tried 
to kiss him, and the multitude thronged him, till it seemed that all 
the city was crowded into the courtyard of the Louvre and in the 
streets around. When the Queen and the Duke entered, the sol- 
diers drew back, and they passed between the files; the Duke 
saluted the lines as he went, but M. de Crillon, captain of the 
guards, gave him only the faintest semblance of a greeting, and it 
was noticed that at this the Duke's face turned a shade pale; he 
understood the danger he was in, and the danger became clearer 
still as he saw files of Switzers, with arms at attention, at the foot 
of the stairs, and archers in the great hall, and in the antechambers 
groups of gentlemen. 

The Queen Mother and he entered the King's cabinet together. 
The Duke bowed very low. The King said, with a scowl, "I gave 
you to understand that you were not to come." The Duke an- 
swered, with the same submissiveness he had shown the Queen, 
and with greater restraint, that he had come to put himself in the' 
hands of His Majesty's justice, to clear himself of the slanders 
charged by his enemies, and that he would not have come if he 
had understood definitely that His Majesty forbade him to come. 
The King turned to Bellievre, "Isn't it true that you received orders 
to tell the Due de Guise not to come, unless he wished to be held 


responsible for the insolence and riots of the Parisians?" Bellievre 
started to answer, but the King interrupted him with the words 
"No matter!" and the Duke said that the Queen Mother had 
bidden him come. She explained, perhaps by agreement between 
the two on their way to the Palace, that she had fetched him in 
order to pacify everything and to put him on the same good terms 
with the King that had always been between them. The Duke 
asserted that he wished to show his duty to the King, to help 
quiet the troubles that seemed to menace the city. "I beg Your 
Majesty, very respectfully, to do me the honor to trust in my 
loyalty and affection, and not lend a ready ear to the calumnies 
from those whom Your Majesty knows do not wish me well," The 
King replied that he was not aware of any calumnies uttered 
against him, but that it would be clear that he was innocent if no 
disturbance arose in the city. Then Catherine, knowing her son, 
and fearful of some rash act, took him aside and told him of the 
great excitement among the citizens, and counselled him that it 
was no time for hasty decisions. The Duchess d'Uzes, who stood 
beside her, urged the same thing. And Guise, anxiously studying 
the King's face, took advantage of his evident irresolution to pro- 
test that he was tired from his journey, and begged leave to with- 
draw, and went off as quickly as he could. 

Meanwhile the crowd outside had begun to be disquieted and 
restless. Some tried to scale the walls, and one of the Duke's de- 
voted adherents, Captain Saint-Paul, forced his way in, vowing 
that whatever game was played should not be played without him. 
When the Duke reappeared the populace again burst into cheers, 
and escorted him all the way through the streets to the Hotel de 
Guise. And during the day and all the next night his friends 
came in crowds to guard him, filling the mansion, the outbuildings, 
the courtyard, and the garden, all places. 


EXCITEMENT became tense. Stealthy steps everywhere. The Louvre, 
the Hotel de Guise, the Hotel de Ville, were all surmises and 
alarms. The King and the Duke met in the garden behind the 
Queen Mother's palace; demands,, assertions,, reproaches, recrim- 
inations, promises, passed to and fro. Then the King, frightened by 
reports that the League had introduced fifteen thousand men 
into the city, ordered the Marechal de Biron to bring the Swiss 
soldiers into Paris. One seems to be anticipating the story of the 
French Revolution. The Duke was thinking the King would 
give way and grant his demands; but on Thursday, May 12, an 
hour before dawn, Marchal de Biron, with fife and drum, marched 
the Swiss troops into the city and quartered them at various points. 
Paris went mad; bells were rung, carts, barrels, stones, beams, 
every portable object, were heaped together in barricades; angry 
men assembled; the Swiss detachments were hemmed in by the 
barricades and shut up, almost in pens. No food, no drink, no 
ammunition, nothing could be brought to them. The King had 
given orders not to fire; and now it was too late. With prospect of 
a general massacre, the King was forced to send to the Duke of 
Guise, begging him to rescue his soldiers. It was the very base 
note of humility. The Duke acquiesced; he rode out with neither 
sword nor armor and released the penned~in troops, bade the 
victorious citizens give back their weapons taken from them, and 
suffer them to retire within the precincts of the Louvre. The next 
day the King sent the Queen Mother to see the Duke. The old 
lady, in her litter, had to stop at each barricade until a passage was 



made, and then the opening was closed again behind her. She 
held a long confabulation with the Duke, and while she was 
there the King, attended by a few courtiers, started out into the 
Tuileries gardens as he usually did, but kept on to the orchard 
beyond and to the royal mews, mounted in hot haste and rode out 
of the new gate there, and down the road towards Chartres, a 
passion for revenge in his heart. 

But the King was powerless, and the Queen Mother helped to 
bring the rivals together. The King accepted the situation; he 
promised never to let a heretic reign, he forgave all who had taken 
part in the barricades, he confirmed the officials who had been 
substituted by the Leaguers in place of his, he dismissed fipernon, 
and appointed the Due de Guise Lieutenant-General of his armies. 

He also convoked the States-General, for the League wished to 
have the formal support of the representatives of the nation. The 
elections were entirely in favor of the League; the Clergy chose 
the Cardinal de Bourbon and the Cardinal de Guise as their presi- 
dents; the Noblesse Marechal de Brissac, a hero of the barricades; 
and the Third Estate, La Chapelle-Marteau, a stout Leaguer. 
There is no doubt that the general sentiment was strongly in 
favor of the League. One deputy to the Third Estate said to the 
King: "Sire, your France used to be the house of God, the con- 
gregation of His Church, in which dwelt that wise and chaste 
mistress, the Catholic Religion, Apostolic and Roman, sole wife 
without spot or wrinkle, who was not smirched by the insults, 
impudence and effrontery of heretical opinions. But now churches 
are ruined, worship is nullified, sacraments are profaned, and the 
fear of God is falling away day by day." At a later meeting the 
speaker for the Noblesse asserted that religion is the bond, the 
ornament, the strength of everything; and therefore, when there is 
a question of what is so holy and desirable, we ought to forsake all 
things else "in order to preserve it, and acknowledge only those 
animated by the same desire as our fellow countrymen." He 
honored the obligations of a gentleman the protection of the old, 


of widows and children, of the humble, of peaceable citizens, of 
the King's Majesty and of his family and yet, he said, "these 
matters do not stir a virtuous heart so much as does a higher, a 
celestial, good, the very top of all duties, the obligation for the 
defense of die Faith." And the orator for the Third Estate added, 
"Kings carry scepters solely to be ministers of the glory of God, 
defenders of His name, protectors of His religion/ 5 There is no 
doubt that preservation of the Catholic religion was the first 
desire and purpose of the League and of the Due de Guise. 

The CMteau of Blois stands on a hill above the town* The dele- 
gates followed the winding road and entered the courtyard by the 
portal of the Gothic wing, so gay with dormer windows, corbels 
and porcupines, and the statue of Louis XII, and then, turning 
to the right entered the great assembly hall, at the angle between 
this wing and the Renaissance wing of Francois I. The hall, a 
hundred feet long and fifty high, was richly decorated, the walls 
hung with tapestries and the columns covered with violet velvet 
strown with fleurs-deJys, the gallery garnished with curtains, and 
in the centre a dais with thrones for the King, the Queen and the 
Queen Mother. Round about royalty were grouped Princes of the 
Blood, Cardinals, officers of the King's guards in brilliant colors, 
but the cynosure of all eyes was a tall handsome aristocrat, thin 
and pale from his labors and his wounds, with his hair, though 
he was but thirty-eight, white on the temples, who as Lord High 
Steward (Grand-Maitre) sat near the foot of the throne. He was 
dressed in white satin, with his black velvet cloak, embroidered 
with silver and pearls, thrown back, and round his neck the 
collar of the Order of Saint-Michel. 

The King showed spirit, and opened the session with an elo- 
quent speech. But things did not go welL The King felt himself 
thwarted, and believed that opposition came from the Due de 
Guise; and rumours flitted about that the Guises meant to follow 
the example of the Mayors of the Palace in dealing with the last 
of the Merovingians. 


Everything pointed to an outbreak. It was obvious that the 
Duke and not the King held the real scepter. Estienne Pasquier 
wrote to a friend that "the principal deputies visit the Duke day 
and night, and when they don't go, they learn his wishes by 
intermediaries . , , so that they speak only through his mouth, 
and no business is proposed except what has been examined in 
his council, and it seems as i the meeting at Blois was merely 
to set the seal on a new royalty." Marshals and captains of the 
guards went to his quarters, and messengers and couriers came to 
him from all over France. The Duke's friends began to be appre- 
hensive. Even before the States-General met, his mother, Mme de 
Nemours, told De Thou that she was troubled about this meet- 
ing, and wished that her sons did not have to go. The Parisians 
gave the Duke a coat of mail covered with taffeta, and begged him 
to wear it when he went to see the King. And whispers of 
danger echoed about: "M. de Guise thinks that he and the King 
are reconciled, but no, no, no, the Day of the Barricades will not 
go unpunished." Letters of warning came from Paris and Orleans, 
and from various persons and places. He answered: "My dear 
friends, I thank you. Please continue your good will. I hope that 
God will help us, because we are here in this place to do good 
work, and that He will not permit the evil counsels that the King 
receives to prevail." 

He took precautions, however. He wrote to Mendoga: "There 
is no lack of warnings from all sides that there is to be an attempt 
on my life; but, thanks be to God, I have made provision, and I 
have so many friends, and by money and presents have won over 
so many of those whom they would use for the deed, that, if they 
begin, I shall finish more roughly than I did in Paris on the Day of 
the Barricades." And he said to a soldier who told him that the 
King was plotting against him, "I have no doubt of it, and if I had 
the heart of a rabbit I should have fled long ago." And back in 
November the Duke, meeting the wife of Marechal de Retz, said to 
her, speaking of the King: "I have just seen my man, and I have 


been leading him up and down in an extraordinary fashion." "That 
is not so well/' she answered, "in nay judgment you do a good deal 
too much. I fear that some catastrophe will come of it, on you and 
on us." "I am not afraid of him," the Duke said, "I know him 
well, he is too much of a coward." "That is what would put me 
more on my guard," she answered, "a brave man would not act 
so quickly." Other friends, Beauvais-Mangis and Schomberg, 
pleaded with him; they represented the King's jealousy, saying 
he said that the Duke had virtually usurped his place and lorded 
it over the assembled deputies. The Duke answered that he was 
not acting in his own interest but in that of the Catholic religion. 
And he was equally impassive when they bade him remember 
how he was overwhelmed with debts and that without him his 
wife and children would be in a wretched state. "After all," he 
said, "I don't see that it would be so easy to surpass me. I don't 
know of a man on earth, who, put face to face with me, would 
not halve the fear; and I go about so well attended that it is not 
easy for a great number to attack me without finding me on my 
guard. My suite accompanies me, every day, to the door of the 
King's chamber, and if they heard the slightest noise, neither 
guard nor doorkeeper could prevent them from running to my 

Nevertheless, so many deputies and others became concerned 
that he consulted his friends. A number were strong for his going 
away, but the Archbishop of Lyons, in whose judgment he had 
great confidence, advised him to stay he would be leaving his 
friends and his departure would create trouble adding, "He that 
quits the game loses." M. d'Esmandreville retorted to the Arch- 
bishop: "You speak as if the King were a wise and sensible man, 
who considers everything, and you don't see that he is a madman, 
who thinks of nothing but doing what the two cowardly passions 
of hatred and fear, which overmaster him, may put into his head, 
and would not think of the considerations that you say would 
affect a reasonable man." 


Finally the Duke decided to stay. He said that he was sick to 
death of the daily slanders uttered against him, and that if he went 
he would give occasion to his enemies to say that he had broken 
up the States-General in order to prevent a satisfactory settlement 
of the Kingdom he had rather risk his life than give them such 
a pretext; and, taking the Archbishop by the hand, he said, "My 
friend, I am determined not to go, lest my going should do hurt 
to the Kingdom. If death comes in by yonder door, I will not go 
out by the window," And when his cousin the Due d'Elbeuf came 
late in the evening, a day or two before the murder, and found 
him writing despatches, and begged him to think of avoiding plots 
contrived against him, he answered: "In order to reap the harvest 
that will spring from the good disposition of the States-General, 
if it is necessary, I will lose my life. I have long made up my mind 
to it. If I had a hundred lives I would devote them all to the 
service of God, and His church, and to the relief of the poor 
people for whom I have the greatest compassion." Then he tapped 
d'Elbeuf on the shoulder and said "Go to bed/ 5 and, putting his 
hand over his heart, added, "Here is the protection of innocence." 

The King, on his part, showed himself more friendly and con- 
ciliatory. When someone referred to the suspicions flying about, 
he broke in: "I know what belongs to the freedom and security 
of the States-General. You must trust my word. It is a crime to 
be suspicious of one's King. These rumours come from those that 
have no love for me and wish to render me odious to the people. 
No cause for disturbing the States-General will ever come from 
me." The historian De Thou says that the King's hypersensitive 
temperament was out of kilter in winter time. At other seasons 
he was easy to deal with, but in the winter he was impossible. He 
eschewed all diversions, went to bed late, slept little, got up early, 
and worked like a beaver all day. In such periods he was very 
severe for the maintenance of discipline. His Chancellor, Chev- 
erny, who had known him from childhood, told De Thou, not 
long before the meeting of the States-General, about the humours 


of the King, and predicted that if the Duke continued to press 
him so, some day he would have him quietly murdered in his 
room, for this was the season when he lost his temper easily and 
his anger bordered on madness. 

And then there reached the King's ears a story that the Duke 
meant to take him to Paris and to depose him. Other stories 
added details: the Guises had a family dinner party, at which the 
Cardinal de Guise toasted Henry de Guise as King of France, and 
added that the present King should go into a monastery, where he 
would make an excellent monk. "Yes," interrupted their sister, 
Mme de Montpensier, "you shall hold his head and I'll take my 
scissors and cut his tonsure." 

The shallow cup of the King's patience overflowed. Davila 
says that on the night of December 18 the King consulted several 
friends as to whether the Duke should be arrested or killed, and 
three against one declared for assassination. The King assented. 
He said a wild boar caught in the toils might prove stronger than 
the cords, but that a dead man makes no further trouble. 

Another chronicler, a deputy from Comminges, Captain Bap- 
tiste de Lamezan, has left an account of a meeting on the night 
of Tuesday, December 20 how the King called into his cabinet, 
on the second story of the palace, a group of soldiers from Guyenne 
and Gascony most devoted to him, Lamezan was one of these. 
The King said to him, "Well, Seigneur de Lamezan, what are 
you up to?" Lamezan replied "Beau Sire, these babblers keep me 
from sleeping, were I of a mind to." "Well, as long as you are not 
asleep, tell me what I ought to do." The answer came immedi- 
ately: "Have those two traitors (meaning the Duke and the 
Cardinal) come into this room, and kill them on entry." "Don't 
you think, M. de Lamezan, that I should be called a Nero?" "It 
has nothing to do with Nero," Lamezan answered. "If you don't 
kill them, they will kill you, and they are the stronger. You can- 
not have them arrested and tried, and yet you are the supreme 


judge in the Kingdom. Those rascals in the Parlement are all 
traitors, either for the League or for the Huguenots. , , . The 
Guises are guilty of high treason. Say the word, and they shall be 
killed," The King left him, walked about, spoke to several others, 
and came back, and asked, "Who will rid me of these wicked 
Guises, if they come here?" Lamezan answered promptly, "Men 
without fear, Sire, the thirty-three Gascons of my cousin The- 
mines' company." And so, Lamezan says, "It was done, and I 
think my nephew De Touges was not the last to strike." 

These thirty-three, no doubt, were Gascons of the band Lcs 
Quarante Cinq, whom Dumas pere made so famous. Still there 
had to be a chief. The King selected the mdtrc dc camp of his 
guard, the Chevalier de Crillon, a man, according to Davilla, 
ferocious and bold (feroce ardito). He had him come, and ex- 
plained his plan; it was the only way he had, he said, to save his 
own life, and he had chosen him to execute it. Crillon replied: 
"Sire, I am your servant, you have my loyalty and my devotion, but 
I am a soldier by profession and a gentleman. If you wish me 
to challenge the Due de Guise, and fight him man to man, I am 
ready to do so on the instant. But to be executioner, to carry out 
a death sentence, does not become a man such as I am, and I 
never will do it." The King knew Crillon to be a plain blunt man, 
who spoke out his thoughts. So he merely bade him say nothing, 
and, after consideration, decided upon one of the gentlemen of his 
chamber, M. de Laugnac, who by his elegance and agreeable 
manners was raising himself to a place among the minions, 
Laugnac made no difficulties, and promised that, with the aid of 
some of the Forty-five, he would carry out the task. 

It happened that at this time the Mayor of Bourges, Francois 
le Mareschal, came to see the King, bringing letters from the Due 
de Nevers. He went to the chateau in the morning of December 
21, and saw the King come from his room in company with the 
Due de Guise and others. The King, perceiving the Mayor, called 


him up, and took his arm as far as the gate of the garden, and 
talked to him while waiting for the key to be brought. Then the 
Due de Guise and the King walked into the garden and went on 
talking, and Le Mareschal and others followed. They could hear 
the Duke speak with great affection to the King, and the King 
return most gracious answers to all he said. The Duke often 
removed his hat, and the King as often obliged him to replace it. 
Le Mar6schal says that, since then, he had been told that the Duke 
begged the King to permit him to resign the office of lieutenant- 
general, on the ground "that the grant had raised up many enemies 
against him, and caused his ill-wishers to utter slanders, although 
his only purpose was to serve him loyally." 

Another narrative states that on that same morning the Duke 
went to the King and said he had heard that the King looked on 
him with ill will, and that the King replied, "Dear Cousin, do you 
think my soul so wicked as to nurse ill will towards you ? On 
the contrary, I assure you that there is not a person in my Kingdom 
whom I love better than you, nor one to whom I am more bounden, 
as I shall make plain by my actions very soon." And he swore 
it by Our Lord's body, which he was to receive that day, and by 
many other oaths. The Duke accepted the King's assurances, and 
that very evening, when the Cardinal de Guise repeated to him 
that he had it on good authority that the King meant to do him 
a bad turn, he answered that he could not believe the King was so 
wicked as to wish him ill. 

Other stories are different, and report that when Guise wished 
to lay down his office of Lieutenant-General, high words passed 
between them, the cause being that the King suspected that Guise 
meant to ask the States-General to confer the office of Constable 
upon him, and that when the King returned to his room he 
flung his cap on the floor in a fury. The next morning, December 
22, the two met in the Queen Mother's room, where she lay abed, 
ill with gout, having taken medicine. The King made a great 

' f 

tl .. .- 

(Photograph by Giraudon) 

Louis de Berenger, Sieur de Cast 


demonstration of good will and intimacy by bits of jovial talk, 
and offered the Duke comfits from his box, and took from the 
Duke's box. He also spent much of the afternoon with him, and 
that evening at parting said: "Cousin, we have much business on 
our hands that must be finished before the end of the year. Please 
be at the Council tomorrow morning early, and we will take 
it up." 


FOUR months before this, before the Duke had left Paris, the Span- 
ish ambassador, Bernardino de Mendo^a, had written to the King 
of Spain: 

[August 9, 1588] 

"As the Duke had asked me to come to see him before he left, 
I went to see him by night. He told me that he was starting 
for Blois and was determined to expose himself to the dangers that 
might result, rather than incur the suspicion of weakness or 
timidity. Besides, one should not exaggerate the risk* The retinue 
he took with him, and the friends he was sure to meet at court, 
constituted forces superior to those of his enemies and put him 
in a position to face all open attempts against his person. The 
only real danger lay in the King's chamber, where one went in 
alone and the King had every facility to have him attacked and 
killed by a dozen or twenty men placed for the purpose. But he 
thought this danger little to be feared, for it hardly seemed possible 
to make all the arrangements for such a project without something 
transpiring, and, beyond all question, if the conspiracy existed, 
he would be told by some of his personal friends whom he had 
about the King.'* 

Many of the Duke's friends entertained apprehensions, so the 
King was made to swear on the sacraments perfect reconciliation 
with the Duke, and friendship, and oblivion of all past quarrels. 
He took the oaths with every appearance of willingness, and then 



playfully declared, not without a touch of irony, that he had de- 
cided to hand the government over to the Queen Mother and the 
Duke, and be wholly free to dedicate his life to prayer and peni- 

So the Duke went on his predetermined way. He had done the 
duty imposed upon him by honor and filial piety, he had killed 
the Admiral. Now he must extirpate heresy. The weak, volup- 
tuous, fanatical King never would; he himself must have the 
power to do it And with this obsessing task before him, he 
became fatalistic. All warnings were thrown away upon him. 
Sometimes he affected to trust the King, sometimes he asserted 
that he was not afraid. "If it be now, t'is not to come; if it be not 
to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come; the 
readiness is all." He had had a duty laid upon him of infinite 
complexity, requiring negotiations, diplomacy, intrigue, conspir- 
acy, war, revolt, civil strife; and he was glad at the bottom of his 
heart to have the matter over, one way or another. 

On the night of the twenty-first, the papal legate sent an 
officer to him, while he was eating supper with the Archbishop 
of Lyons under a pergola in the faubourg de la Rose, and begged 
him to leave Blois, On the night of the twenty-second his mother 
besought him with tears for the love of God not to go to the King's 
room; he put her off. And at supper, a note of warning "Take 
care, they are about to do you a bad turn" was wrapped in his 
napkin. He wrote at the foot, "He would not dare/' and tossed it 
on the floor. So Fate stalked on. 

The King had been very minute in his preparations. He an- 
nounced that on Friday morning (December 23) he was going 
to a house in the neighborhood, and wished to hold his Council 
meeting very early in the morning. With that excuse, he took the 
keys of the chateau from Guise, who had custody of them as 
grand-mdtre, and bade his carriages be ready at the chateau by 
four o'clock. His other preparations were secret. He ordered 
Larchant, captain of his bodyguard, to station the guards on the 


great stairway, and tell the Duke that this was to enable them to 
hand in a petition for belated pay. He placed other guards by a 
small interior stair that led from the first story to the second, 
where the royal apartments were; and ordered that as soon as 
the Council had met, all doors should be locked. The Forty-five 
were to be in the Gderic de$ Cerfs, on the first floor, by five 
o'clock. And the King himself was to be awakened at four. 

The alarm clock of the gentleman-in-waiting, ML du Helde, 
rang faithfully. Du Helde went to the royal bedroom, on the sec- 
ond floor, and knocked* Mile cle Piolant, the first lady of the 
bedchamber, went to see who it was* "Tell the King it is four 
o'clock," Du Helde said. "He is asleep and so is the Queen," she 
answered. "Wake him up, I have my orders, or I'll knock so 
hard that I shall wake them both." But the King was not asleep ; 
"What is it?" he asked. "It's ML du Helde, who says it is four 
o'clock." "Piolant," he said, "fetch me my slippers, my wrapper 
and my candle," and he got up and went into the room known 
as the new cabinet- Two of his gentlemen were there already; 
others soon followed, about a dozen. At five o'clock M. de Belle- 
garde was sent down to see if the Forty-five had come. He re- 
ported, not all; but soon going again he found all but two or 
three, and he put them in the room next to the new cabinet. 

The CMteau de Blois at that time was arranged in this way: 
the King's apartments were on the second floor, and to reach that 
floor one had to go up from the courtyard by the glorious out- 
side stairway, or by a small winding stair, next what is now the 
Gaston d'0r!6ans wing, which led from the Gderic des Cerfs on 
on the first floor in to a room by the corner tower, and from this 
corner room a door opened into the King's room (le chambre du 
Roy), and from the chambre du Roy a door opened into the 
cabinet neuf. Here in this chambre du Roi the members of the 
Forty-five were placed. The King came in and told them that he 
would soon have need of them, and wished them to promise to 
do what they were told. All protested their devotion. Then Belle- 


garde came in with eight daggers, and asked who wanted them. 
The eight men nearest received them. Later some twenty went 
into the cabinet neuf, and the King explained what he wanted. 
One of the Gascons, tapping his hand on the King's chest, said, 
"Cap de Diou, Sire, iou bous rendrai mortl By God's head, Sire, 
I'll kill him for you." The King then, for further precaution, hid 
them on the third story in cells prepared for monks. 

It was still dark when two priests, the King's chaplain and 
almoner, arrived; they went into the oratory just beyond the 
cabinet neuj, to the east. The hours went by. It was now seven 
o'clock. The King sent those of his Council who were with him 
into the Council chamber (a large room between the chambre du 
Roy and the chateau wall on the courtyard side), which was 
reached by the outside stair. He brought the assassins down from 
their third-story cells, bidding them make no noise, on account 
of the Queen Mother, whose room was underneath, and placed 
the eight with daggers in the chambre du Roy, and a dozen others, 
with swords, in a room known as the old cabinet, on the courtyard 
side of the palace, and reached by a door from the chambre du 
Roy. The old cabinet had had another door leading into the 
Council chamber, but the King had had that blocked up. Some 
others of the Forty-five were placed to guard access to the old 
cabinet from the winding stairs that led up from the Galerie des 
Cerfs. All entrances and exits were guarded. 

The Duke was lodged in the chateau, perhaps in the west wing, 
torn down by Gaston d'Orleans. Persons, whom Davila calls 
/ suoi malevoli (Surgeon Lejeune, passing the gossip on to Dr. 
Miron, and so on) say that he spent his last night with Madame de 
Sauves. This lady was a fashionable coquette who, according to 
Margot, Henry of Navarre's wife, was a very Circe, and at one 
time had made all the young men fall in love with her, Navarre, 
Alenfon, Seigneur de Gast, and others, Henri de Guise among 
them. That was fourteen years before, and it seems likely that 
Lejeune, Miron and the rest echoed old gossip, more especially 


as the gossip gives an account of her begging him not to go to the 
Council meeting, and of his humming a popular song as he 
mocked her solicitude. It savours of Benjamin Backbite and such 
gossipmongers. Pierre de Ffitoile says: "Such reports are not be- 
lieved by people that know the private life of this Prince." At any 
rate he was awakened at four o'clock by the noise of the King's 
horses, which the coachmen were making fast to stanchions in the 
courtyard. He went to sleep again, and between six and seven 
got up and dressed in light-gray satin. 

It was a horrid day, dark, comfortless, and raining hard. He 
went, accompanied by his secretary P^ricard, to the chapel across 
the court, to say his prayers; but the chapel was not open, so he 
said them outside, and then went to pay his respects to the Queen 
Mother. On the way, again he was warned. He answered, "My 
dear fellow, I was cured of that apprehension long ago." An old 
servant of his also came up and said the same thing- The Duke 
told him he was a fool, but added, "He is well guarded whom God 
guards." The Queen Mother had taken medicine and could not 
see him, so he proceeded to the great stairway in order to go up to 
the Council room. Here he came upon Larchant and his archers, 
who said they were there with a petition for pay, and asked the 
Duke to further it. The Duke replied, "I will do all I can for 
you." One of them trod on his foot as a last warning, but it was 
too late; the Duke went into the Council hall Larchant cleared 
the stairway of all lackeys, pages and attendants, and the castle 
gates were strictly watched. Four others of the Council were 
already there, and soon the Cardinal of Guise, who lodged in 
the Hotel d'Alluye, arrived in obedience to a special summons 
from the King, as well as the Archbishop of Lyons and several 

They stood or sat in little groups, talking. The Archbishop 
asked Guise where the King was going so early in such bad 
weather? The Duke answered, "I suppose he is going into retreat 
for a few days, as he usually does." Then the Duke, having had 


nothing to eat and feeling faint, asked Pericard to fetch his gilded 
shell, in which he kept Damascus raisins, all that he was used to 
eat for breakfast. Pericard went, but time passed and he did not 
return, so the Duke asked the King's vdet de chambre to give him 
something or other that the King might have, and the valet brought 
him some Brignoles plums. And then his own box was handed 
him by the doorkeeper, who had received it from Pericard, as 
Larchant's archers had not allowed Pericard to pass. Alarmed by 
this, Pericard happened at that moment to catch sight of the 
Duke's son, the young Prince de Joinville, who was hurrying to 
the apartment of M. Charles de Valois (an illegitimate member 
of the family) ; for the King, in his superabundant caution, had 
arranged that the two young fellows should play racquets that 
morning, and his nephew was to keep Joinville away till he re- 
ceived word from the King. Joinville hurried on; but Pericard 
detained Pescher, a gentleman of the Prince's suite, and besought 
him to get the Duke out of the Council chamber. But Pescher 
was not allowed to go in. The Duke, meanwhile, began to wonder 
why his secretary did not return, and sent another doorkeeper to 
find him and bring him in. Then, feeling chilly, he walked to the 
fireplace, and sitting in the corner of it, bade a servant build up 
the fire. "I'm cold," he said, "my heart feels queer; make a fire." 
His nose began to bleed, and he felt in his hose for a handker- 
chief, but could not find one, and said, "My people have neglected 
my necessaries today, but they are excusable they were in such a 
hurry." Then he turned to Francois Hotman, Treasurer of Sav- 
ings, and said: "My dear Treasurer, will you be so kind as to see 
if there is any page or valet of mine at the door, and send him to 
fetch me a handkerchief." Some thought afterwards this was a 
ruse to get into communication with friends outside. The King's 
valet sent for a handkerchief, and then the business before the 
Council began. 

In the meantime the King walked up and down in the greatest 
disquiet. He could not sit still He would appear at the door of 


his cabinet and talk to those of the Forty-five present, bidding 
them stay in the room, and take care not to be hurt by the Duke, 
who was big and strong, for he should greatly regret it. He sent 
a gentleman to the two priests in the oratory to get on their knees 
and pray God for the success of a deed that he meant to do for 
the good of the Kingdom. The priests suspected something, and 
one of them peeked through the tapestry hung in front of the 
door, and saw Laugnac and Cast talking together; Cast held a 
dagger, which he dropped and then picked up, and they agreed 
that as soon as he entered they must rush upon him, stab him 
and throw his body out of the window* The priests did not know 
who he was, but guessed it might be the Due de Guise. The King 
felt easier after both brothers were in the Council room, and when 
the clock stood near eight he bade his Secretary of State, Revol, 
go call the Duke and say that the King was waiting for him in 
the old cabinet. Revol went to the door between the King's 
chamber and the Council room, but came back quite pale. "My 
God!" the King exclaimed, "what's the matter? How white you 
are! You will spoil all Rub your cheeks." Revol replied, "Noth- 
ing serious, Sire. M. de Nambu will not let me go by without 
direct word from your Majesty." So the King called from the door 
of his cabinet to let Revol pass, and to let the Due de Guise come in, 
but all alone. 

At that minute the members of the Council were seated round 
the table, according to their rank, and M- P^tremol, Director of 
Finance, had laid on the table a financial statement prepared in his 
office with the assistance of the Archbishop of Lyons, and had 
begun to explain the second article in it, when the Marshal de 
Retz and Cardinal de Gondi raised an objection. P&remoFs ex- 
position did not satisfy them, and everybody was glad to have the 
Archbishop of Lyons take the paper from P6tremol and answer 
the objections himself. At that juncture Revol came in and said 
to the Due de Guise, "The King asks for you; he is in the old 
cabinet," and disappeared like a flash, and the Duke got up so 


quickly that he tipped his chair over backwards. He put some 
of the Brignoles dried plums in his comfit-box, and tossed the rest 
of them on the table saying, "Won't you have some, gentlemen?" 
Then, fumbling with his cloak, he adjusted it over his left arm, 
and holding his comfit-box and handkerchief in his left hand, 
his hat in his right, he bowed, said "Good-bye, gentlemen/' 
knocked at the door of the King's chamber and went in. The 
eight Forty-fivers were there, with their daggers under their 
cloaks, some sitting, one leaning on the mantelpiece. On the 
Duke's entrance all stood up, touched their caps and bowed; and 
as he turned leftwards to go towards the old cabinet, they followed, 
as if out of respect. At the door into the old cabinet the Duke 
lifted the tapestry with his left arm, and stooped, as the door was 
low, and entered the little passage that led through a very thick 
wall (once the outer wall) into the old cabinet, and then saw 
others of the Forty-five waiting for him. 

He understood then that there was an ambuscade, turned back 
and looked at those following him. His look was so high, and 
he was so feared, that for a moment they hesitated, then threw 
themselves upon him. Some seized his arms, others his legs, others 
struck with their daggers. One drove his into the Duke's throat, 
crying, "Traitor, that will kill you." The Duke made a terrible 
effort; he shouted, "Ho, friends!" and shaking his arms free flung 
four to the ground, hitting one in the face with his comfit-box. 
He tried to draw his sword, but could not draw it more than half 
from the scabbard, which was well for the assailants, as one of 
them said, though they were eight resolute men and he taken by 
surprise. And though his sword was caught in his cloak and his 
legs held, he dragged them to and fro, and when he caught one 
with ses mains fortes et genereuses he dashed him against the wall. 
But he wore no corselet, and the daggers did their work one gash 
in the neck, one in the chest, one over his eye, one in the loins, four 
in the belly. Then the assassins drew back. With arms wide out, 
his eyes lustreless, his mouth open, as if already dead, the Duke 


advanced towards Laugnac, who pointed his sword towards him, 
and, just touching him with the blade sheathed, pitched him to 
the foot of the King's bed, where he stained the wall with his 
blood and sank, murmuring, "Have mercy, O God!" and slowly 

What took place then is all confusion. The King appeared 
from the new cabinet, a drawn sword in his hand, and exclaimed: 
"My God; how big he is! He seems to be even bigger dead than 
alive." Some say he kicked the body, and bade Beaulieu, one of 
the Secretaries of State, to see what he had on his person. Some 
of the assassins tore oflf his earrings, and a diamond ring from 
his finger. So ended the Great Duke. 


OTHER details of the King's plan were promptly carried out. 
Guards rushed about the palace to take their stand in front of 
doors where the Duke's friends lodged. In the Council room the 
noise of the scuffle had been heard. The Archbishop of Lyons 
shook the door of the King's chamber; but on the instant archers 
filed in and arrested him and the Cardinal de Guise. One after 
another, the chiefs of the League were made prisoners. A soldier 
was set at old Cardinal de Bourbon's door, where he lay sick in 
bed; another laid hold of young Joinville, who had been lured 
away by the King's nephew. Other soldiers appeared at the hall 
in the town where the Third Estate had met, arrested the officials 
appointed by the League, and marched them off through the 
pouring rain to the castle. In the oratory the two priests learned 
for sure of the Duke's death. One cried out, "O Jesus! what a 
misfortune!" "Ha!" the King exclaimed, "What's that he said? 
Is he a Leaguer?" But he appeared si oultrc de contentement, so 
overcome with satisfaction, that they really had no need to fear. 
And when M. de Beauvais-Mangis came in, the King cried: "Beau- 
vais, I can say now that I am King." Beauvais-Mangis answered, 
"I pray to God, Sire, that all may turn out to your satisfaction." 
And then tears came into his eyes. The King demanded, "What, 
you are crying?" He answered: "Sire, Your Majesty knows that 
I have no other aim or interest than to serve you, but pity for 
what I see [the Duke lay dead beside them] and the evil that I 
foresee draw tears from my eyes." The King said: "I will set 
everything to rights." 



The King then went down the stairs to tell his mother. On the 
way he met the Florentine ambassador, who turned back with him 
and witnessed the interview, 

"He went up to her/' the ambassador reports, "with a very 
calm and confident expression on his face. 'Good morning, 
Madam, I beg you to forgive me, M. de Guise is dead; we shan't 
hear more of him, I have had him killed, doing no more than 
forestalling the similar plan he had formed against me. I could 
endure his insolence no longer. I tried to bear with it in order 
not to dip my hands in blood; I put from my memory the injury 
done me on May 13, the Friday when he forced me to fly from 
Paris; I also forgot that he had plotted against my life, my honor 
and my power. But, as I knew, as I had continuous proofs, that he 
was undermining and threatening those are his own expressions 
my authority, my life and my Kingdom, I resolved on this deed, 
which I have long considered in my mind, asking myself whether 
I should do it or not. However, as I saw that my patience turned 
to my shame and dishonor, and that his offenses and perfidies 
multiplied every day, I was finally inspired and helped by God, to 
whom I am going now to render thanks in church, at the holy 
office of Mass. And if any member of the League, whosoever, 
shall speak to me of what has been done, I will treat him as I did 
M. de Guise. I wish to alleviate the burdens of my people, I wish 
to hold meetings of the States-General, but I wish them to speak 
as subjects and not as sovereigns. I have no enmity against the 
family and house of M. de Guise; I shall help, and show favor 
to, the Dukes of Lorraine, Nemours, Elbeuf, and Mme de Nemours, 
who I know are loyal and well-disposed towards me. But I mean 
now to be King and no longer a captive and a slave, as I have 
been from May 13 to this hour, when I begin anew to be King 
and master, I have put guards about the Prince de Joinville, and 
the Dukes of Nemours and Elbeuf, and Mme de Nemours, not 
to harm them but for my own safety, I have done the same towards 
the Cardinal de Guise, the Archbishop of Lyons, and my cousin, 


the Cardinal de Bourbon; I shall do him no harm, but I shall so 
deal with him that he will not be able to hurt me. I shall pursue 
ardently the war against the Huguenots, for I wish to extirpate 
heresy from my Kingdom/ And then he added, 'So, Madam, I 
am now sole King of France, without a partner/ She answered: 
'My son, what do you think you have accomplished ? May God 
grant that you profit by it.' " And some say she said: "My son, 
you have cut well, but now comes sewing the seam [C'est bien 
faille, mats il faut coudre\ " 

The King then left, and she asked to be carried to old Cardinal 
de Bourbon. He was under guard, in bed, and ill; when he saw 
her he cried out with tears in his eyes, "Ah, Madam, this is your 
doing, this is the result of your cozenage. You are the cause of all 
our deaths." She answered violently, "I pray God to damn my 
soul, if ever I counselled it. Oh, no! There is sorrow in my heart 
beyond belief, I shall die of it." And she went back. "I can't 
bear more. I must to my bed." She lived twelve days more. 

Meanwhile upstairs the body of the murdered Duke had been 
dragged into the King's garde-robe. A servant asked the two 
priests in the oratory if they would like to see the body, and 
showed it to them, wrapped in a cloth and covered with a Turkey 
rug. One priest recited a De profundis for the dead man's soul, 
and a surgeon, all in tears, was examining the wound, when an- 
other servant came to tell the priest that the King wished to hear 
Mass in the chapel, and he must go and officiate. There was the 
King, "Sa traistre face riante, as if he had conquered the world." 

"This is [as a friend of the Guises said] the abominable detestable 
deed, the frightful harvest that one could expect to reap from this 
accursed Henry, atheist and parricide, who perjured himself 
traitorously, cowardly and vilely, and made his rogues and vil- 
lains murder the prop, the pillar, the support of our holy religion, 
of his Kingdom and of himself, his Court and of all France, who, 
by his prowess, vigor, valor and virtues, rendered her redoubt- 


able and fearful to all the most potent and warlike nations. 
France! What honors, what praises, what marble monuments, 
what jewels and precious stones should you lay on his grave, and 
by this last duty eternalize the memory of him, who, while he 
lived, lived only for you, and dying cared only for your repose! 
The most honorable tomb that you can erect to this holy martyr 
is to imitate his piety, his constancy, his holy determination to die 
for the preservation of religion, for the liberty of the nation, and 
the repose of la Patrie, so that his sacred zeal may be engraven 
everlastingly on the hearts of all true Frenchmen and of all good 


His brother the Cardinal de Guise was stabbed to death in a 
garret of the castle the next day, Christmas Eve. An anonymous 
poet echoed the sentiments that I have just quoted: 

Ne tcallez plus de tombeaux magnifiques 
A ces deux corps, en cendre consomm&s; 
Car c'est assez, puisqu'ils sont inhumts 
Dedans les coeurs de tous les Catholiques. 

Carve no more monuments magnificent 
For these two bodies, by fire to ashes turned, 
It is enough that in the faithful hearts 
Of all true Catholics they are inurned. ' 

The Duke, however, had not striven and struggled in vain. It was 
through his efforts, more than by those of any other man, that 
France was kept a member of Latin Christendom that her feet, 
following the main traditions that had come down through the 
Christian Church from Rome and Athens and Jerusalem, walked 
in the sanctified path of Roman Catholic civilization. 


WITH the death of the great Duke,, the lesser ambition of the 
House of Guise to sit upon the throne of France passed out of 
reach, but the greater ambition to keep la Patrie true to its 
ancient religious faith was still achievable. 

On hearing the news Paris la ville des pensSes gtnereuses, as 
Anatole France calls her broke out in open rebellion. It organ- 
ized a revolutionary government, it appointed Guise's cousin, the 
Due d'Aumale, Governor, and shrieked denunciations: "Cry out 
against this mad wolf, this raging tiger! Let all the corners of the 
earth hear how an accursed perjurer, murderer, parricide, assassin, 
Henry of Valois, formerly King of France, has forced his kind 
and loyal people to revolt against him." Seventy doctors of the 
Sorbonne solemnly declared: "Quod popules hujus regni solutus 
est et liberatus a sacramento fidelitatis ct obedientiae praejato Hen- 
rico regi praestitoTht people of this Kingdom are released and 
freed from the oath of loyalty and obedience taken to the afore- 
said Henry." And every day there were religious processions, 
priests, men, women and children, barefoot, to the Church of 
Sainte-Genevieve, sometimes to the number of four or five thou- 
sand persons. Mayenne was appointed Lieutenant-General of the 
Kingdom, and towns and villages all over joined the Sainte- 

The King saw his power falling away, he fled from Blois to 
Tours for safety. There was but one resource, the help of the 
heir apparent, the heretic King of Navarre. The two Kings came 
to an agreement, united their forces, and the followers of legiti- 



mate royal authority, combined with the hardy, experienced Hu- 
guenot soldiers, marched victoriously up to the walls of Paris. 
It seemed that nothing but the intervention of Providence could 
save the city and the cause. Prayers, ardent and passionate, went up 
to Heaven. The spirit of fanatical martyrdom entered into a 
young Jacobin monk, Jacques Clement, who appeared to some 
a celestial being, to others a goblin damned. This monk murdered 
Henri de Valois (August 1, 1589), and Henry of Navarre, a 
heretic, became, according to Salic law, the lawful King of France. 
But the Catholic nobles and gentlemen who had followed Henry 
of Valois fell away, Navarre's forces dwindled, and Paris and the 
cause were for the moment safe. 

The Due de Mayenne was created Commander-in-chief of 
the League, but his military abilities were no match for those of 
Henry of Navarre; the Battle of Arqucs was lost, then the Battle 
of Ivry (March 14, 1590), but Paris held out. To paraphrase the 
song: the Duke's body lay mouldering in the ground, but his 
soul went marching on, and his cause triumphed. Henry of 
Navarre saw that he must yield. On June sixteenth, 1593, he wrote 
to Gabrielle d'Estrees that "his love had never been greater, nor his 
passion more violent." On the twenty-third "he kissed her feet a 
million times"; on the twenty-sixth, "her hands a million times." 
On July twelfth he sent her a million more kisses. On the twenty- 
third he wrote her, "This morning I am to begin to converse with 
the bishops . . . and on Sunday ]c ferai k saut ptrilleux [I shall take 
the perilous leap] I kiss a thousand times my Angel's beautiful 
hands." On July twenty-fifth, the Archbishop of Bourges sat on an 
episcopal throne at the portal of the Basilica of Saint-Denis. A man 
presented himself: "Who are you?" "I am the King." "What do 
you want ?" "I ask to be received into the Communion of the Cath- 
olic Church, Apostolic and Roman." The King knelt and swore to 
live and die in the Catholic Church. And France was free to follow 
her Latin destiny and develop her genius in the sympathetic atmos- 
phere of the traditional Church* 


Gradually the great and less among the intransigent Leaguers 
came in and made submission. The Due de Mayenne, now grown 
to be a fat, heavy man, and troubled with sciatica, met the King in 
the park of the chateau of Montceaux, and was received kindly. 
The King, always in vigorous, athletic condition, walked him to 
and fro at a very brisk pace. At last the poor Duke, hot, flushed, 
perspiring and suffering, said he could go no more. "All right, 
Cousin, give me your hand," the King laughed, "for, by the Lord, 
that is all the revenge you will ever receive from me." The young 
Due de Guise, Charles, surrendered Reims, and attempted to 
make a speech on meeting the King. Henry laughed. "You are 
not much more of an orator than I. I know what you want to 
say. One word can do it. We are all liable to youthful faults. I 
forget it all; only don't do it again. You shall acknowledge that 
I am the King, and I will be a father to you. There is no man in my 
court on whom I shall look with more favor than you." 

This young man, the fourth Due de Guise, died in 1640, after 
a comparatively uneventful life, when the great Cardinal Richelieu 
was in power. His son Henri, the fif th Duke, was romantic enough 
to claim the crown of Naples, spent four years in prison and died 
in 1664, in the early reign of Louis XIV, and the title descended to 
his nephew Louis-Joseph, the sixth Duke, who died in 1671. Soon 
afterwards his son Francis-Joseph, the seventh and last Due de 
Guise, still but a little child, died in 1675, So ended the House of 

The title, now vested in the Bourbon-Orleans family, is borne 
by the claimant to the Crown of France. 





THE name Guise is pronounced almost universally in this country, and 
also in France, as if it were spelt Geeze, giving the letters English sounds, 
Ghize, in French sounds. It should be pronounced Gweeze, English 
sounds, Ghu-i-ze, French sounds. This is known to encyclopaedists, to a 
few professors, at the Sorbonne, at Grenoble, Harvard and the Univer- 
sity of Toronto, and, also, I am told, to those who have the privilege of 
acquaintance with the present Due de Guise, a member of the Bourbon- 
Orleans family, claimant to the Throne of France, in all about two or 
three dozen people. 


1494 Birth of Francois Premier died 1547 

1496 Birth of Claude de Guise died 1550 

1498 Birth of Jean, Cardinal of Lorraine died 1550 

1505 Birth of Goudimel, musician . died 1572 

1510 Birth of Pierre Lescot, architect died 1571 

1510 ? Birth of Bernard Palissy, potter died 1589 

1510 ? Birth of Franjois Clouet, painter died 1572 

1515 Birth of Jean Goujon, sculptor died ? 1566 

1515 Birth of Jean Bullant, architect died 1578 

1515 Birth of Philibert Delorme, architect died 1570 

1515 Victory of Marignano 

1517 Martin Luther posted his thesis 

1519 Birth of Henry II died 1559 

1 519 Birth of Francois de Guise died 1563 

1519 Birth of Admiral Coligny died 1572 

1522 Birth of Joachim Du Bellay, poet died 1560 

1524 Birth of Ronsard, poet died 1585 

1525 Birth of Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine died 1574 



1525 Defeat of Pavia 

1528 Birth of RemyBeileau, poet died 1577 

1532 Birth of Jean-Antoine de Ba'if , poet died 1585 

1533 Birth of Montaigne, essayist died 1592 
1533 Marriage of Henri and Catherine de Madias 

1535 Birth of Germain Pilon, sculptor died 1590 

1544 BirthofFranfoisII died 1560 

1544 Death of Clement Marot, poet 

1547 Death of Francois Premier 

1547 Death of Henry VIII of England 

1550 Death of Claude de Guise 

1550 Death of Jean, Cardinal of Lorraine 

1550 Birth of Henry de Guise died 1588 

1550 Birth of Charles IX died 1574 

1551 Birth of Henri III died 1589 

1552 Defense of Metz by Francois de Guise 

1553 Death of Rabelais, author 

1553 Birth of Henry of Navarre died 1610 

1554 Birth of Due de Mayenne died 1611 

1555 Abdication of Charles V, Emperor 

1557 Defeat at Saint-Quentin 

1558 Capture of Calais 

1559 Death of Henri II 

1559 Accession of Francois II 

1560 Conspiracy of Amboise 
1562 Massacre at Vassy 

1562 Battle of Dreux, Civil war 

1563 Death of Praaf ois, Due de Guise 

1567 Battle of Saint-Denis, Civil war, and death of Montmorency 

1569 Battle of Jarnac, Civil war, and death of Prince de Cond 

1569 Siege of Poitiers, Civil war 

1569 Battle of Moncontour, Civil war 

1572 Saint Bartholomew's Day, August 23 

1574 Death of Charles IX 

1576 Formation of The League 

1584 Death of Alenfon 

1588 The Barricades (May) 

1588 Murder of Henri de Guise (December) 

1588 Murder of Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine (December) 

1589 Death of Catherine de M^dicis (January) 


1589 Murder of Henri III (August) 

1593 Conversion of Henri IV 

1611 Death of Mayenne 

1640 Death of Charles, 4th Due de Guise 

1664 Death of Henri, 5th Due de Guise 

1671 Death of Louis-Joseph, 6th Due de Guise 

1675 Death of Francois-Joseph, 7th and last Due de Guise 




Michel de Castelnau (1520-1592), Marechal (Memoires) 

Regnier de la Planche, Huguenot (1530 P-1580 ? ) (Histoire, etc., de Fran- 

fois II) 
Pierre de la Place (1520-1572) (Commentaires, etc., sous Henri II, Fran- 

gois II et Charles IX) 
Gaspard de Saulx Tavannes (15094573), Marechal (Memoires relatives 

a PHistoire de France, Petitot) 
Due de Guise (Michaud et Poujoulat, Ser. Ill, Vol. 6) 
Jean de Mergey, Huguenot (1536-1618?) (Memoires) 
Claude Haton (1534-1605+) (A priest of Provins, a town in Cham- 

Blaise de Monluc (150M572), Marechal (Commentaires, etc.) 
Francois de La Noue, Huguenot (1531-1591), (Discours politiques) 
Michel de la Huguerye (1545P-1608?) (Memoires, etc.) 
Conde (Family) Reigns of Fran?ois II and Charles IX (Memoires, etc.) 
Pierre de 1'fitoUe (1546-1611) (Memoires, etc.) 
Brantome, Pierre de Bourdeille (1534-1614) (Oeuvres) 
Jehan de la Fosse Journal d'un Cure Ligueur de Paris (1557-1590) 
Jehan de la Fosse Journal de Francois, Bourgeois de Paris (1588-1589) 
Marguerite de Valois (1552-1615) (Memoires, etc.) 
Seigneur de Villeroy (1543-1610) (Memoires, etc.) 
Estienne Pasquier (1529-1615) (Oeuvres) 

Archives Curieuses de THistoire de France, Vol. 14, contains various 
contemporary narratives. 



There are reports by ambassadors, there are letters, etc,, etc., in large 


Jacques DC Thou (15534617) (Histoire Univcrsclle) 

Agrippa d'Aubigne (15524630) (Histoire Universclle) 

Enrico Davila (15764631) (Storia dellc Guerre CIvili di Francia) 


Catherine de M6dicis 

Catherine de Medicis 

Catherine de M6dicis ? etc. 

The Wars of Religion in France 

Diane de Poitiers 

La Vie de Marguerite de Valois 

Histoire des Dues de Guise 

Les Dues de Guise, etc. 

Gaspard de Coligny 

Jeanne d'Albret et la Guerre Civile 

Histoire de France 

Le M&enat du Cardinal de Lorraine 

De Quelques Assassins 

La M&re des Guises 

Seizi&tne SiMe, fitudes Litt&raires 

Notre vieux Joinville 

Le Chateau du Jardin 

Paul van Dyke (1922) 
J. H. Martfjol (1922) 
Ralph Roeder (1937) 
James W. Thompson (1909) 
Jehanne d'Orliac (1930) 
J. H. Maridjol 
Rcn6 Boufflfi (1849) 
Alphonse de Ruble (1897) 
Ernest Lavisse (1911) 
A. Collignon (1910) 
Pierre de Vaissi&rc (1912) 
Gabriel dcPimodan (1925) 
fimile Faguet (1894) 
fimilc Humblot (1928) 
fimile Humblot (out o print) 



Abbeville, in Civil War, 146 
Albret, Jeanne d' 

death of, 212, 216 

married Antoine de Bourbon, 107 
Alengon, Due d' 

death of, 267 

leader of Huguenots, 252 

Paix de Monsieur, 253 

reconciled to Henri III, 258 
Alva, Duke of 

and Catherine de Medicis, 182 

in Netherlands, 185, 207 

murdered Egmont and Horn, 190 
Amyot, M. Jacques 

tutor of Charles IX, 247 

tutor of Henri III, 260-261 
Anet, Chateau d,' 90 

and French Renaissance, 86 

built by Henri II, 59-61 
Angouleme, Henry of, 212 
Anjou, Henri, Due d' 

see Henri III 

Anne of Geierstein, cited, 16 
Aramises, young musketeers, 110 
Arnay-le-Duc, Coligny's victory at, 202 
Arques, Battle of, 302 
Athoses, musketeers, 110 
Aurillac, sacked in Civil War, 146 
Azay-le-Rideau, and French Renaissance, 

Bai'f, Jean-Antoine de, 41 
and Charles IX, 247 
and Henri III, 261 
founded Academy, 248 
quoted, 261 

Baif, Lozare de, protege* of Jean, Card- 
inal of Lorraine, 41 
Balzac, Guez de, quoted on Henri, Due 
de Guise, 182 

Barry, Godefroy de 

see La Renaudie, de 
Bayonne, colloquy at, 183, 267 
Beam, Prince de 

see Henry of Navarre 
Beaugency, captured by Conde", 144 
Beaujeu, Anne de, wife of Pierre II, 

Due de Bourbon, 106 
Beaupre*, Marquis de, 179 

and Henri III, 297 

warned Due de Guise, 282 
Beauvoir, murdered on St. Bartholo- 
mew's Day, 230 
Belleau, Remy 

and Henry III, 262 

cited on Joinville, 23 

Discours de la Vanite quoted, 249 

French Renaissance poet, 90 

quoted on Joinville and Duchess of 

Guise, 34f . 
Bellegarde, M. de 

and murder of Henri, Due de Guise, 

at siege of Rouen, 150 
Bellievre, Mar&hal de, 275 
Besme, of the Guise household, mur- 
dered Coligny, 228 
Beze, Theodore de 

and Poltrot de M6re", 172 

quoted on Charles de Guise, 48 

quoted on death of Francois II, 127 

spoke for Calvin at Poissy, 132-135 
Birague, Chancellor, and St, Bartholo- 
mew's Day, 241 
Biron, Marshal de, 273 

and Day of Barricades, 278j^. 
Blanche of Castile, regent for Saint 

Louis, 126 
Blois, taken by Catholics, 144-145 




Blois, Chateau of 
description of, 280, 291 
Renaissance architecture, 87 
Bonivet, Admiral, Claude dc Guise 

served under, 24 
Bonnegarde, Captain, swore vengeance 

on Due de Guise, 115 
Bordeaux, and Anne de Montmorency, 

Bossuet, quoted on Coligny and Poltrot 

de Mre, 176 

Bouille*, M. de, quoted' on German Ana- 
baptists, 26 
Bourbon, Antoine de 
at Renty, 73 
at siege of Rouen, 149 
commander of Catholic army, 147 
death of, 150 
favored war, 82 
first Prince of the Blood, 106 
letter to Due de Guise quoted, 82-83 
threw in his lot with Due de Guise, 
Montmorency and Saint-Andre", 
142, 143 

Bourbon, Antoinette de, 178 
characteristics, 33 
children of, 32 

devoted Catholic, 33, 35, 138 
fled to Saint-Dizier, 252 
household of, 29, 36- 
married Claude, Due de Guise, 17-18 
returned to Joinville, 253 
Bourbon, Charles, Cardinal de, 107, 124, 


as constitutional heir, 268 
granted certain cities* as security, 270 
president of Clergy, 279 
Bourgeuil, in Civil War, 146 
Bowig, Anne de, executed, 105 
Brantome, 160 

cited on profligacy of monks, 39 
quoted on 
Anne d'Este, 46 
Antoine de Lorraine, 16-17 
Charles IX, 246 
Coligny, 209 
Cond<, 149 
Francois I, 17-18 

Brandt6me, Continued 
quoted on, continued 
Francois, Due de Guise, 75, 110, 
115, 150-151, 154-157, 161, 170 
Henri, Due de Guise, 250^. 
Mete siege, 64-65 
Montmorency, 54, 55 
Diane de Poitiers, 59 
Ronsard, 98 
soldiers, 110 
Br&, Louise dc, married Claude de 

Guise (Due d'Aumale), 56, 72 
Briconnet, reformer, 101 
Brion, murdered on St. Bartholomew's 

Day, 230 

Brissac, Marshal de 
favored war, 83-84 
President of Noblesse, 279 
Bullant, Jean 

built chateau at Chantilly, 81 
built Chateau of ficouen, 55, 88 
built Petit Chateau, 55 

Calvin, John 

letter to Madame de Cany quoted, 

theocracy of, 102 

view of life, 86-87 
Cany, Madame de, 91 
Capet, Hugh, and the Houses of Bourbon 

and Valois, 256-257 
Caraffa, Cardinal, 76 
Carle, Lancelot de, 162 

quoted on death of Francois, Due de 

Guise, 167 
Castclnau, Michel de 

quoted on Vassy affair, 139-140 
Castelnau, Seigneur dc 

executed, 115 

Cateau-Cambr&is, treaty, 83-84, 104, 107 
Chailly, Seigneur de, 218, 240 
Chambiges, Pierre, 81 
Chambord, Chateau of 

and French Renaissance, 86 

built by Francois I, 21 
Chantilly, and French Renaissance, 86 
Charles V, 64, 101 

war with Francois I, 24 



Charles IX 

Academy patron, 248 

and Coligny, 211 ff. 

and Guise-Coligny feud, 178-179 

and Ronsard, 99 

and St. Bartholomew's Day 

blamed Henri, Due de Guise, 233 
took credit, 234 

characteristics of, 246-247 

death of, 250 

letter to Due d'Anjou quoted, 211-212 

tour of, 182 
Charfres, Vidame de 

and Coligny, 220 

at siege of Paris, 188 

escaped massacre of St. Bartholomew's 

Day, 229 ' 
Chateaubriant, Countess of, mistress of 

Frangois I, 19, 21 
Chateaubriant, Rene de 

at siege of Poitiers, 197 
Chateau du Jardin, description of, 31-32 
Chatillon, Seigneur 

see Coligny 
Chatillon, Cardinal de 

at siege of Paris, 188 

sympathetic toward Protestants, 121, 

Chenonceaux, Chateau of, 90 

and Diane de Poitiers, 58, 63 

and French Renaissance, 86 
Cheverny, Chancellor, 276, 283 
Clement, Jacques, murdered Henri III, 

Clement VII, 42, 57 

and Claude, Due de Guise, 27 
Clermont, Antoine de, massacred on St 

Bartholomew's Day, 230 
Cloves, Catherine of 

see Princess e de Porcien 
Clouet, Frangois, French Renaissance 

painter, 93 

Clovis, and the House of Guise, 256-257 
Coligny, Admiral 

advocated tolerance, 113 

and Catherine de Me*dicis, 143, 208 

and Charles IX, 208, 214-215 

Coligny, Admiral, Continued 
and Frangois, Due de Guise, 56, 

I20ff. } 162, 177-178 
and Poltrot de Mere, I69j^. 
depositions, 17lff. 
purged, 183 
at Arnay-le-Duc, 202 
at Battle of Dreux, 154 
at Battle of Jarnac, 193 
at Moncontour, 201 
at Poitiers, 197/. 
at Renty, 74 
at siege of Paris, 188 
character of, 206 

compared with Robert E. Lee, 147 
description of, 148 
favored war with Spain, 207 
flight of, 191 

invited to Henry of Navarre's wed- 
ding, 213 
Maurevert attempted to assassinate, 


murdered in massacre of St. Bartholo- 
mew's Day, 228 
petition of, 120 
prisoner, 81 

quoted on death of Frangois II, 127 
Colombe, Michel, atelier of, 87 
Conde, Henri, Prince de 
at wedding of Henry of Navarre and 

Margot, 215 

spared in massacre of St. Bartholo- 
mew's Day, 222 
Conde, Louis, Prince de, 107 
and Frangois, Due de Guise, Il4ff. t 


and Catherine de Medicis, 143 
and Poltrot de Mere, 175 
and plot of La Renaudie, 112 
at Battle of Dreux, 154 
at Battle of Jarnac, 193 
attempted to besiege Paris, 187 ff. 
description of, 148, 149 
flight of, 191 

head of Protestants, 142, 143, 147 
left the Court, 185 
pamphleteer's outburst against, 189 
supported Protestant rebellion, 124 



Conde*, Louis, Prince de, Continued 
tried to kidnap Charles IX, 186-187 
vs. the Guises, 124 ff. 
Conde*, Princesse de, favored Protestants, 

Contarini, Lorenzo, description of Henri 

II quoted, 51-53 
Conti, Prince of, at wedding of Henry of 

Navarre and Margot, 215 
Coqueau, Jacques, and Francois I, 21 
Corbigny, sacked in Civil War, 146 
Cosseins, "guard" for Coligny, 223 
Council of Trent, work of, 254 
Crillon, M, de, captain of guards, 276 
refused to murder Due de Guise, 285 

d'Amboise, Bussy, murdered Clermont, 


d'Amboise, Jacques, Abbot of Cluny, 38 
d'Andelot, 183, 185 
and Poltrot de Mere", 173j?v 
at Battle of Dreux, 153 
at Les Tourelles, 158459 
flight of, 191 

sympathetic to Protestants, 121 
d'Arques, minion of Henri III, 264 
D'Aubeterre, M., and Poltrot de M&6, 


D'Aubigne*, Agrippa 
cited on 
Huguenots at La Roche-FAbeille, 


murders, 189-190 
Ronsard, 98 
siege of Poitiers, 191 
quoted on Henri, Due de Guise, 181 
quoted on Henry III, 264 
d'Aumale, Due, 109, 178, 187 
and Henri, Due de Guise, 182 
and St Bartholomew's Day, 240, 241 
appointed governor by Paris, 301 
d'Avila, Luis and Francois, Due de Guise, 

Davila, quoted on Guise and League, 

267, 273 

Delorme, Philbert 
and French Renaissance, 89 
built Anet Chateau, 60 

Delorme, Philbert, Continued 
built Petit Chateau, 55 
converted to Calvinism, 102 
superintendent of public buildings, 90 
Des Manures, and Jean, Cardinal of Lor- 
raine, 43 
De Retz, Marshal (Albert Gondi), and 

St. Bartholomew's Day, 241, 246 
Desportes, and Henri III, 262 
d'fitaples, Lefvre, reformer, 101 
DC Thou, Christophe, 219 
cited on Due de Guise, 154, 184 
quoted on 

capture of Beaugency, 144 
Civil War, 145 
Coligny, 208, 215 
Francois, Due de Guise, 167-168 
Henri III, 265 
Huguenots at Michclen - THerme, 


marriage of Henry of Navarre, 210 
massacre of St, Bartholomew's Day, 

221 ff., 230, 231 
on merrymakings, 182-183 
Diana of France, 56 

Diane de Poitiers, sec Poitiers, Diane de 
Dokt, fitiennt*, and Jean, Cardinal of 

Lorraine, 42 
Dorat, Jean 
and Charles IX, 247 
and Henri III, 262 
quoted on Jean, Cardinal of Lorraine, 


Dormans, battle at, 252-253 
Du, Bellay, Cardinal 
and French Renaissance, 89 
and Jean, Cardinal of Lorraine, 42 
letters to Delorme quoted, 94-95 
Du Bellay, Joachim 
and Ronsard, 34 
Epitaph d'un petit chien f 91 
French Renaissance poet, 90 
quoted, 80, 92 

Du Helde, M., gentleman-in-waiting, 290 
Du Plessis-Mornay, escaped on St. Bar- 
tholomew's Day, 231 
Duprat, Chancellor, 49 



ficouen, Chateau of 
and French Renaissance, 86 
belonged to Anne de Montmorency, 


Edict of Amboise, provisions of, 177, 188 
Edict of January, 1562, quoted, 136-137, 


Edict of Nemours, 270-271, 272, 273 
Edict Romarantin, Guises have credit for, 


Edict of Saint-Germain, 205 
Edward III, captured Calais, 78 
Elbeuf, Due d,' 178 

warned Due de Guise, 283 
Elizabeth, Queen of England 
and French Protestants, 269-270 
gave money to Coligny, Conde and 

Henry of Navarre, 269 
La Mothe-Fenelon's interview with on 
St. Bartholomew's Day, 234-237 
Elizabeth, Queen of Spain, 182 
Epernon, minion of Henri III dismissed, 

made admiral of France and given 

government of Normandy, 272 

and Jean, Cardinal of Lorraine, 4l/. 
levity of, 86 
Ercole II, 47 
Este Anne d f 
and Coligny, 215 

and St. Bartholomew's Day, 239, 241 
beauty of, 45-46 
culture of, 47 

married Duke de Nemours, 46, 184 
married Frangois, Due de Guise, 45 
Estienne, Henri, and Henri III, 261 
Estrees, Gabrielle d,' and Henry of Na- 
varre, 302 

Faguet, fimile, quoted on Rabelais' book, 


Ferrara, Duchess of, favored Protestant- 
ism, 130 

Feuquieres, Madame de 
escaped on St. Bartholomew's Day, 

married Du Plessis-Mornay, 232 

Feuquieres, M. de, and Poltrot de Me*r<, 

Fontainebleau, and French Renaissance, 

France, Claude de, eldest daughter of 

Louis XII, 17 
Frangois I 

and Claude, Due de Guise, 28 
and daughter-in-law, 62-63 
and Henri II, 51 
and Protestants, 39 
Brantome quoted on, 18 
captured at Pavia, 26, 39 
characteristics, 18-19 
death of, 126 

persecuted Protestants, 101 
Frangois II 

and the Guises, 107/. 
characteristics, 106 

kidnapped by Triumvirs at Fontaine- 
bleau, 186 

letter to Anne de Montmorency quoted, 

Genlis, defeated by Spaniards, 209 
Gien, sacked in Civil "War, 146 
Goudimel, converted to Calvinism, 102 
Goujon, Jean 

and French Renaissance, 90 

converted to Calvinism, 102 

helped build Chateau of ficouen, 55, 


Gueldres, Duke of, at Marignano, 20 
Gueldres, Philippa of 

in nunnery, 22 

mother of Claude, Due de Guise, 17 

quoted on heresy, 27 
Guerchy, Marasin de, murdered on St. 

Bartholomew's Day, 230 
Guerre des Amoureux, La } 266 
Guise, Catherine de, daughter of Fran- 

and Charles, Cardinal de Guise, 71 

birth of, 94 
Guise, Charles, Due de 

and father's death, 293/. 

reconciliation with Henry of Navarre, 



Guise, Charles dc, Cardinal of Lorraine 

and Belleau* 34 

and Francois II, Wlff. 

and Francois, Due dc Guise, 71-72, 76 

and Henri, Due de Guise, 202 

and Henri II, 48, 49 

and Huguenots, 119^. 

and Diane de Poitiers, 56 

approved massacre of St. Bartholo- 
mew's Day, 237-238 

birth of, 94 

compared with Richelieu and Mazarin, 

debate at Poissy, 152 ff. 

description of, 48, 131 

officiated at betrothal of Dauphin, 80 

patron of the arts, 95/, 

peace commissioner, 82 
Guise, Claude, Due de 

and Anabaptists, 26-28, 101 

and Paris, 26 

and Protestantism, 17, 20, 28, 40 

at Fuenterabia, 25 

at Hesdin, 26 

at Marignano, 20 

at Neufchlteau, 26 

characteristics of, 32 

Chateau du Jardin built by, 31j^, 89 

death of, 49-50 

description of, 17 

dress of, 29-30 

early life of, 17 

governor of Champagne, 32, 40 

Great Butcher, 28 

household of, 29 

letter to Montmorency quoted, 40 

luck of, 20, 25-26 

married Antoinette die Bourbon, 1748 
Guise, Francis-Joseph de, seventh Duke, 

Guise, Francois, Due de 

and Bonnegarde, 115 

and Coligny, 56, 74 

and Francois II, 107j^. 

and Henri, II, 49, 78 

at Battle of Dreux, 153 j^, 

at Boulogne, 44-45 

at Calais, 78-79 

Guise, Francois, Due de, Continued 

at Mctz, 64-70 

at Renty, 73 

at siege of Orleans, l^Bff. 

at siege of Rouen, 149-152 

birth of, 23 

culture of, 47 

death of, 1 61 

description of, 44 

family of, 94 

Italian campaign of, 75-76 

La Renaudie's plot against, 114 

married Anne d'Estc, 45 

peace opposed by, 82 

popularity of, 79, 142 

prevented riot in Paris, 128-129 
Guise, Francois de, Grand Prieur, 33, 72, 

74, 113 
Guise, Henri, Due de 

and Cardinal of Lorraine 
see Cardinal of Lorraine 

and Coligny, 176, 211 

and Day of Barricades, 274 

and Duke de Nemours, 184, 193, 195 

and Henri III, 274//. 

and Henry of Navarre, 253 

and Huguenots, 242, 243-245 

and League 
sec League 

and Catherine de M6dicis, 2Jdff. 

and Saint Bartholomew's Day, 
acted under orders, 223, 242 
and murder of Coligny, 241-242 
connection with Maurevert, 240 
helped Maugiron, 229 
no part in general massacre, 241-245 
revenge motive, 240-241, 242 

appointed Lieutenant-General, 279 

at Blois, 280 

at Dormans, 252-253 

at Jarnac, 193 

at La Rochelle, 250jf. 

at Orleans, 159 

at siege of Poitiers, 197 ff. 

birth of, 94 

characteristics of, 179 ff. 

early life of, 179-180 

favored war, 202 



Guise, Henri, Due de, Continued 
granted certain cities as security, 270 

in Vienna, 185 

in War of Three Henrys, 272 

letter to Mendoca quoted, 281 

letters to Due de Nemours quoted, 
184, 193, 195 

murder of, 295 

pensioned by Philip of Spain, 268-269 

popularity of, 180-181, 252, 273, 274 

quoted, 242-243 

tour of, 182 

warned of danger, 28 Iff. 

wounded, 252-253 
Guise, Henri de, fifth duke, 303 
Guise, Jean de (Cardinal of Lorraine) 

and admirers, 41-43 

and Anabaptists, 40 

and Francois I, 40, 44 

and Henri II, 49 

as Abbot of Cluny, 38 

bishoprics and archbishoprics of, 38 

compared with Claude de Guise, 40 

conservatism of, 38-39 

death of, 50 

generosity of, 41 ff. 

patron of arts, 89 

scholarship of, 4l 

Guise, Louis, Cardinal de, 32, 33, 72 
Guise, Louis, Cardinal de (nephew of 

president of Clergy, 279 

stabbed, 300 

Guise, Louis-Joseph de, sixth Duke, 303 
Guise, Marie de 

and father's death, 50 

became wife of James V, 21 

birth of, 32 

Guise, Pierre de, birth and death of, 33 
Guise, Rene de, birth and death of, 33 
Guise, Renee de, birth of, 32 

Hautemer, Guillaume de, at siege of Poi- 
tiers, 197 
Henri II 

and Frangois I, 5-1, 57 

and Frangois, Due de Guise, 80, 83 

and Montmorency, 82 

Henri II, Continued 
and Diane de Poitiers, 
and Protestants, 101-102 
art during reign of 
see Chapter XI 
at Renty, 73 
characteristics of, 80-81 
death of, 84 
description of, 51-53 
married Catherine de Medicis, 57 
Henri III 
and Henri, Due de Guise, 203-205, 

216, 257, 295ff. 
and League, 257-258, 270 
at Battle of Jarnac, 193 
at Chatellerault, 200 
at La Rochelle, 192, 250 
characteristics of, 260-261, 262-263 
claimed Lieutenant-Generalship, 185 
dog lover, 265 
Edict of Nemours, 270-271 
effeminacy of, 263-264 
elected to Polish throne, 250 
letter to Duchess of Nevers quoted, 


minions of, 264^. 
murdered, 302 
patron of arts, 261-262 
perfidy of, 203 
Henry IV 

see Henry of Navarre 
Henry VIII, 26, 32, 101 
Henry of Angouleme, prominent in mas- 
sacre of St. Bartholomew's day, 

Henry of Navarre, 180 
and Edict of Nemours, 271 
and Henri III, 268 
at La Rochelle, 192 
became a Catholic, 302 
became King of France, 302 
description of, 259 
heir to throne, 257 
letter to Gabrielle d'Estr6es quoted, 


married to Margot, 209, 
on tour, 182 



Henry of Navarre, Continued 
spared in massacre of St. Bartholo- 
mew's Day, 222ff. 
Hotman, Francois, 293 
Humblot, fimile, Le Ch&tmu dit Jardln, 

cited, 31 

and Conspiracy of Amboise, 117 
in Paris, 118, 128 
murdered on St. Bartholomew's Day 

set Chapter XXVII 
outlawed by Parlement of Paris, 143 
plotters, 111 
retaliation of, 103404 

Ivry, Battle of, 302 

James V, 21 

Jamyn, Amadls, member of the Academy, 


founded by Loyola, 254 

Huguenots complained of, 190 

in France, 254ff. 
Jewell, Bishop, quoted on death of Due 

de Guise, 167 

Joinville, Jean de, quoted, 15 

description of, 22-23 

history of, 1546 

passed into hands of Claude de Guise, 

remodeled, 24 
Joyeuse, minion of Henri III, 264 

killed at Coutras, 272 

La Bonne, massacred, 228 

La Brosse, de 
at Battle of Djreux, 156 
in Vassy affair, l40jf 

La Chapelle-Marteau, president of Third 
Estate, 279 

Lamezan, Captain Baptiste de, conversa- 
tion on killing of Due de Guise, 
quoted, 284-285 

La Mothe-F<nelon, M, de, quoted on 
interview with Queen Elizabeth 

La Mothe-Fenelon, M. de, Continued 
about St. Bartholomew's Day, 235- 
Languedoc, terrorized by Huguenots, 


La Planchc, Regnier de 
cited on Antoine and Prince de Cond6, 

cited on Coligny vs. Due de Guise and 

Cardinal of Lorraine, 122423 
quoted on Paris' attitude toward Hu- 
guenots, 118419 

Larchant, Captain of Henri Ill's body- 
guards, and murder of Due de 
Guise, 292 
La Renaudie, 

characteristics of, 111412 
killed, 113 
plot of, 112 

La Roche4'Abeille, captured by Hugue- 
nots, 195 

La RocheHe, 190, 192 
siege of (1572), 250 
La Rochefoucauld, M. de, 162 
and Poltrot de M6rc-, 170jf. 
massacred on St. Bartholomew's Day, 

222, 224, 229 
Laugrmc, M* de, and murder of Due de 

Guise, 285 

Lavardin, murdered on St. Bartholo- 
mew's Day, 230 
League, Catholic 
and States-General, 279 
articles of, 255, 256 
founding of, 255 
growth of, 267 
supported by Philip, 264 
tried to keep Navarre from throne, 

Le Mareschal, Francois, quoted on Due 

de Guise, 286 
Le Mons, attempted to assassinate Due 

de Guise, 151452 
Leo X, Pope, 38, 42 

and Claude de Guise, 20 
Lescot, Pierre, had charge of Louvre, 90 
Les Tourelles, 158 



L'fitoile, Pierre de, 
quoted on 

Charles IX and Queen Mother, 216 
Coligny, 213 

Henri, Due de Guise, 292 
Letter to the Tiger of France, quoted 119 
Levis, Gabriel de, saved by Margot, 227 
I'Hopital, Michel, appointed chancellor, 

Edict of January, 1562, drawn up by, 

Limosin, Leonard, 73, 89 

made figures for Anet, 60 
Ligueil, terrorized by peasants, 145 
Loches, terrori2ed by peasants, 145 
Longeuil, Madame de, murdered on St. 

Bartholomew's Day, 231 
Longjumeau, Treaty of, re-established 

Edict of Amboise, 188 
Longueville, Due de, 81, 178 
Louis IX, 106, 126 
Louis XI, 24, 106 
Louis XII, 45, 111 
Louise of Savoy 
and Protestants, 39 
Diane de Poitiers in train of, 57 
letters quoted, 25, 26 
mother of Francois I, 21 
Loyola, Ignatius, and the Society of 

Jesus, 254 

Lude, Comte de, commandant at Pox- 
tiers, 197 

Lutheranism, in France, 102 
Lyons, Archbishop of 
advised De Guise to stay, 282 
captured, 297 


and Coligny, 262 

and the Guises, 47 
Macon, sacked in Gvil War, 146 
Magnane, de, at Metz, 67 
Marcel, Prevot, and massacre of St. Bar- 
tholomew's Day, 223 
Marchands, Prevot des, and massacre of 

Saint Bartholomew's Day, 223 
Marguerite of Valois ("Margot") 

and Catherine de Medicis, 203-205 

Marguerite of Valois ("Margot") Con- 

and Henri, Due de Guise, 202/. 

and Massacre of St. Bartholomew's 
Day, 224jf. 

marriage to Henry of Navarre 

see Chapter XXVI 
Marguerite of Navarre, 

reformer, 101, 107 
Marignano, Battle of, 20 
Marot, Clement, 47 

and Jean de Guise, Cardinal of Lor- 
raine, 41 

poet of French Renaissance, 88 

quoted, 88 

Matignon, M. de, commissioned to cap- 
ture Montgomery, 234 
Maugiron, Laurent de, 

attempted massacre of Huguenots, 229 

minion of Henri III, 264 
Maurevert, Sieur de, 240 

attempted to murder Coligny, 218 

murdered M. de Mouy, 211 
Mayenne, Due de 

and Henri III, 271 

and Huguenots, 243 

appointed Lieutenant-General, 301 

at siege of Poitiers, 197 

commander-in-chief of the League, 

reconciliation with Henry of Navarre, 


Mazarin, Cardinal, 25 
Medicis, Catherine de 

ability of, 125 

and Alva, 183 

and Anjou, 203/. 

and Coligny, 208^. 

and Diane de Poitiers, 62-63 

and Francois I, 62-63 

and Philip II of Spain, 183 

and St. Bartholomew's Day 
see St. Bartholomew's Day 

colloquy at Bayonne, 183 

married Henri II, 57 
Mendoga, Bernardino de, letter quoted, 

Mere, Poltrot de, shot Due de Guise, 162 



Mergey, M. de, massacred, 225 
Metz, siege of, 64 
Moncontour, battle of, 201 
Montaigne * 

quoted on 

Battle of Dreuac, 137 * 

death of Anne clc Montmorcncy, 


^nurture, 259 

Montereau, captured by Huguenots;' ft 7 
MTontesquiou, Captain, killed Prince de 

Cond6 194 

Montgomery, Gabriel de , 
escaped massacre of St. Bartholomew's 

Day, 229 ' pV ( Jk 
spi*r wounded Henry 1#%4 "W 
Monttftorency, Anne de 
and Francois, Due de Guisfe 73^., 130 
and, Diane de J^oitiers, 72-73 
ant'^Thouy, 55" 
at Battle 1 of Dreux, 153 
at ffprdeaux, 54 
at Sjtint-Quentin, 76-77 
at siege of Paris, 188 
characteristics of, Mjf., 72-73, 80-81 
chateaux of, 55 
dej|h of, 188 
in Henri II's Conswl, 49 
taken prisoner, 77, 153 
ontmorency, Francois dfe, married Di- 
ane of France, 56 
oatpcnsier, Due de, 81, 178 
ony, M. de, murdered, 211 
orat, battle -of, 16 

aac^ay, M. de, sent to get families of 
Coligny and Andelot, 225, 234 

ancy, battle of, 16 

amours, Due de, 46, 178 
Nemours, Duchesse de 

see Anne d'Este 

Nevers, Due de, and massacre of St. Bar- 
tholomew's Day, 222j^., 241 
Neveu, Pierre, and Francois I, 21 
NImes, captured by Huguenots, 187 

Orl&ns, captured by Huguenots, 187 
Ornano, Alfonso, <Juotcfd t 275 

Oudin, cited cm Le Mans, 151 

; tic fterjprttfiLd, 258 
Pah tie M(yf.\iwtt La, 206, 252, 258, 

266 ^ "' * 
Paix dirRtti, Id, "266 s ' 
Palissjc, JBenaaJ&i. *% 

and Henri 111,^61 J 

converted to 'Calvinism, 102 
Pardaillan, Sipu^de, escaped massacre 
* ,,of r ,St. Bartholomew's Day, 229 
Par<, Ambro^cJ^p 

at siege <>f^>jufciRu 149 

attended Henri II, 84 
;i quoted 

Guise, 44-45 
Sn^5attlrficlri, 77 

;, 281 
la Prance t 95 

eat at, 26 

iry of Henri, Due de 
murder of Due, 292/. 
Anne dc Montmorency's, 

Ptftremol, M,; Director of Finance, 294 

Philip II, t02, 182, 183, 185, 207, 208 

married Elizabeth, daughter of Henri 

PicardiCj governor of P&onne, quoted on 

advisability of league, 255 
Pierre ft, Due de Bourbon, in Moulins 

picture, 106 
Pi$selieu" Anne de, mistress of Francois 

1, 19. ' 
Pius V, to Henri, Due de Guise, 

quoted, 194-195 
Poissy, seme of debate between Hugue- 

nottfed Catholics, 132 

descrijj$>n of, 196-197 
in Civil War, 146 
siege f , 197 ff. 
Poitidfs, Diane de 
and arts, 94 



Tavannes, Marshal de 191 

and Massacre of St. Bartholomew's 
Day, 221, 239, 241 

at Battle of Jarnac, 193 
MIgny, 220 

massacred on St, Bartholomew's Day, 

222, 224, 229 

Terri&e, Anne de, murdered on St. Bar- 
tholomew's Day, 230 
Thouy, and Montrnorency, 55 

and Lutherans, 138 

In debate at Poissy, 132^, 
Triumvirate, 130, 136, 142 
Tyard, Pontus de, became bishop, 91 

Vaissi&re, quoted, 162, 176 

Valentinois, Duchess of 

see Diane de Poitiers 
Vallier, Sieur de, father of Diane de Poi- 
tiers, 61 

Valognc, In Civil War, 146 
Valois, Charles de, 293 
Vassy, 173, 174 

Guise-Huguenot conflict at, 138j^, 

Guise acquitted on, 142 
Vcndflme, Count of, 106 
Villemur, M., 218 
Villeroy, M. de, 49 

War of the Three Henrys, 272 
Whitehead, A. W. 
Gaspard de Coligny, quoted, 201-202 

William of Orange, and Coligny, 207